Kyrie’s break-up would be hard to do
It kind of felt like the first time a good-looking girl broke up with you.
You’re kind of in shock for a few seconds. Your heart drops to your stomach. You feel like you got the wind knocked out of you. One thought enters your mind and you can’t escape it: THIS REALLY SUCKS!
Yes, that’s how most Cleveland Cavalier fans felt when word broke that Kyrie Irving asked to be traded. The man who put a year-long smile on the faces of millions with a 3-pointer that will live on in infamy. The player with the nastiest crossover in the NBA, a jump shot that’s eternally in rhythm and a Houdini-like finish around the rim. Yes, he wants to be traded from a team that has reached the last three NBA Finals.
It’s OK. Take a breath. You’ll get through this. There are plenty of fish in the sea. You’ll find someone else who’s even better (maybe) and you’ll be even happier (doubtful).
Sound familiar? Yeah, we’ve all heard similar consoling words during that excruciating time after being kicked to the curb. It’s a little weird when a professional athlete does it, but the pain is still there.
So, now it’s time to move on … we think. Who knows, maybe things can be fixed, but a wise man always prepares for the worst and hopes for the best. OK, maybe that’s just Cleveland fans, but still. It seems obvious Irving, like that girl who got away, is looking for the next best thing. Instead of the right situation, people inherently want the sexy one, while we’re here begging and pleading for them to realize what’s right in front of them. It’s usually a battle not worth fighting.
So, again, let’s see what it’s like to move on. It won’t be easy, but it can happen, even though we might still be in denial. Let’s take a look at one of those “dating sites” or, in this case, questionable sports web sites, and see what we come up with. There are countless rumors, but we’ll just pick a few of the sexiest ones.
We’ll start with the person/team everyone wants us to hook up with: the New York Knicks. There’s definitely prospects in Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis, but Anthony is an aging player (33) with limited skills, especially on defense, and the player you really want, Porzingis, is reported to be off the table. So, the Knicks are essentially a good-looking cousin, so no thanks.
Next, we take a page from our soon-to-be ex’s book and go for the next best thing (arguably) in the form of the Portland Trail Blazers. This is like trying to hit on someone out of your league just for the heck of it. Now, Damian Lillard isn’t necessarily a better player than Irving, but he’s going to be hard to woo from Portland. He has a similar skill-set as the 25-year-old Irving. At just 27, Lillard has the marketability, game and clutch play to come close to matching Irving, but why would the Blazers trade him? It’s hard to get people to go to Portland (where is that located again?) in the first place, but Lillard has been loyal and enthralls the fan base. Yes, Irving is younger and a touch flashier, but it’s tough to see the Blazers parting with the face of the franchise in his prime. So, we just got rejected — adding salt to the wound.
OK, we’re 0-2, but this next one could be it. The Boston Celtics. Yep, our biggest competition in the Eastern Conference has everything we need — young, up-and-coming players, draft picks and another player, Isaiah Thomas, who comes close to matching the talent of Irving. The Cavs could not only get a 28-year-old superstar, but probably a first-round pick and a role player as well (if we get lucky). So, what’s missing? A couple things.
Thomas doesn’t make much (a little over 6 million) and Irving makes nearly 20 million, which means a third team would have to be brought in to make the salaries match up. Also, Thomas’ contract expires next year, while Irving has another year and a player option for the 2019-20 season. The young players and/or draft picks could offset the potential loss of Thomas, but if he doesn’t agree to an extension during the trade, this deal wouldn’t exactly excite LeBron James, whose contract is up after next year.
James’ possible departure opens up another can of worms, but that’s a story/relationship for another time. Let’s focus on Irving, who doesn’t possess a no-trade clause in his current deal, which means the Cavaliers don’t have to trade him. And really, unless things get really ugly, they probably shouldn’t.
Yes, feelings have been hurt and any intimacy that once occurred (I’m sticking with the significant other storyline here, so work with me) with his teammates is probably going to be put on hold for the near and possibly distant future. But hey, we’ve been through tough times before with all this trade talk (Kevin Love’s last name is just too perfect of a fit for this column to not mention), and we made our way out of it. So let’s give this thing another try. We like you. You used to like us (remember that step-back 3 in Oakland? Man, that was a great night). We can rekindle that magic. It can happen. You’ll just, you know, have to stop being such a (fill in the blank).