CLEVELAND -- Kyrie Irving has been a focal point of the Cleveland Cavaliers since being the No. 1 pick in the 2011 NBA Draft out of Duke University.
But being a focal point is not what interests Irving. Instead, Irving wants to be the focal point, which is why he requested a trade from the Cavaliers and has been the subject of much debate, both locally and nationally, since the story broke on July 21.
However, here are three reasons why trading Irving could be a good thing for the Cavaliers.
HINT OF LEBRON’S FUTURE
Because James can opt out of his contract after the 2017-2018 season and once again enter free agency, the national narrative has been that he will leave Cleveland for the second time in his career in order to chase down championships with another team.
However, if Irving wants to get out of the shadow cast by the four-time NBA MVP, that could mean he knows James intends to stay with the Cavaliers for at least another season after the 2017-2018 campaign is complete.
Despite coming up on the losing end of The Finals for the fifth time in eight trips to the championship round, James made NBA history against the Golden State Warriors this summer. James became the first player in league history to average a triple-double in the championship series.
James averaged 33.6 points, 12.0 rebounds and 10.0 assists while shooting 56.4 percent from the field and 38.7 percent from three-point range against the Warriors. Also, James passed Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan for the most points in NBA Playoffs history and Los Angeles Lakers great Magic Johnson for the most triple-doubles in NBA Finals history this past season.
INFUSION OF YOUNG TALENT
Through trades to acquire veterans at or before the trade deadline in each of the past three seasons, the Cavaliers have dealt away nearly all of their selections in the NBA Draft, meaning the pipeline for infusing young talent into the roster has not produced anything.
Sending away Irving to a team on the rise or near the bottom of the NBA standings could yield a fruitful harvest as it pertains to young talent. Infusing young players onto one of the oldest rosters in the NBA could help keep James fresher throughout the year and give him much needed support in the postseason, while at the same time, give coach Tyronn Lue talents capable of playing at a consistently high pace.
LOCKER ROOM CHEMISTRY
A team does not make three straight trips to the NBA Finals without some form of chemistry within the locker room, and the Cavaliers have shown a penchant for making deals that better the team, both on and off the floor.
When Dion Waiters clashed with Irving, the prior was a part of a three-team trade that brought shooting guards J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert to the Cavaliers from the Knicks. Smith was a key offensive acquisition, and has developed into an important two-way player in his two-plus years with the Cavaliers.
Ironically enough, it was Irving who hit the biggest shot in Cavaliers history when he knocked down a pull-up three-pointer from the right wing in the waning seconds of Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals, which led to the first-ever NBA Championship for the franchise.
But if Irving wants to be “the man” and run his own team, he has indeed called into question his own willingness to acquiesce for the sake of a franchise that expects to be at the top of the Eastern Conference once again this coming season.
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