No longer wanting to be Robin, Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving is seeking to become Batman again.
According to ESPN‘s Brian Windhorst, Irving requested a trade to Cavs owner Dan Gilbert, citing that he wanted to play in a situation where he can be more of a focal point and that he no longer wants to play alongside LeBron James.
Forget the fact that Irving was once the man for three seasons prior to James returning to Cleveland, Kyrie is feeling himself and has likely decided to leave James’s cozy, but sometimes critical cocoon.
Irving’s desire is understandable, especially since his epically-clutch jumper in Game 7 of the 2016 National Basketball Association Finals was the primary reason why the city of Cleveland’s 52-year championship drought ended. But he should also remember that his first opportunity to be a franchise’s top dog didn’t go so well, as the Cavs sported a 78-152 record from the time he was made the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft until James returned to Cleveland.
The King, by all accounts, was reportedly blindsided and disappointed by Irving’s decision. But hurt feelings aside, the NBA is still a business. Irving must look out for himself first, especially with James refusing to put out the brushfires about his intentions for the Summer of 2018.
It’s rumored the San Antonio Spurs sit atop Irving’s wish list. Other franchises reportedly include the Minnesota Timberwolves, Miami Heat, and Lord help us, the New York Knicks.
The 25-year old will undoubtedly be a sought after commodity. And it’s hard to believe that players on the aforementioned teams won’t be doing their best to convince their respective manaogements to bring him aboard. Irving is under contract for the next two years in Cleveland, so he has very little leverage. But a rundown of the four reported destinations of choice all offer unique opportunities for Irving.
The Spurs have the pedigree, coaching excellence (Gregg Popovich), upper-management stability, and talent to be Irving’s reasonable first choice. The Timberwolves have the coaching staff (led by Tom Thibodeau) and rising talent (Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins) to really put a scare in the upper echelon of the Western Conference – and immediately become a legit contender should they add Irving, much like they added Jimmy Butler earlier this summer. Although, a trade to Minnesota may be tricky, considering the Wolves signed free-agent point guard Jeff Teague over the summer and the veteran can’t be dealt until December 15, per league rules. But that won’t stop Butler and Towns from trying to lure Irving. Butler and Irving have become friends since teaming up for USA Basketball. And Towns’s father, Karl Towns Sr., and Irving’s father, Drederick Irving, are connected via northern New Jersey’s Amateur Athletic Union basketball circuit.
The Heat also provide a great coaching staff (led by Erik Spoelstra), deep roster, and upper-management excellence with Pat Riley steering the ship. And the Knicks, while many will scoff at Irving’s reported desire to play for them, will soon implement head coach Jeff Hornacek’s uptempo offense, which will be conducive to Irving’s skill set. They also have a budding star in forward Kristaps Porzingis, and geographical familiarity for the West Orange, New Jersey native. Calling Madison Square Garden home is usually a dream for most aspiring ballers who were born and raised in the greater New York City area.
The previous three locales make the most sense, but sticking with the Knicks theme for a minute, it’s arguably the most intriguing. Phil Jackson and his antiquated Triangle offense are no more.
Hornacek will need a legit lead guard to run his vaunted attack. The Irving-Porzingis 1-2 punch is every bit as intriguing as any other combo of the aforementioned spots. And almost as important, New York is the biggest market and would need a superstar to replace Carmelo Anthony, as any deal to the Knicks would likely include the former All Star.
Besides, since Irving is reportedly so desperate to be Batman, what better location is there than Gotham?