Irving’s desire to move out of James’ shadow isn’t a newfound aspiration. The 25-year-old has reportedly wanted out of Cleveland for quite a while and wants to be the No. 1 option on his own team. This, from ESPN, sums up Irving’s situation well:
Irving was tired of being Robin to James’ Batman. Tired of having another superstar — even one of the best players of all time — in control of his fate. Yes, he had learned from James in the three seasons they’d played together. Yes, he was appreciative. But Irving felt the time had come to take his destiny into his own hands. He wanted to be the centerpiece of a team, as he thought he was going to be three years ago, when he signed a five-year extension 11 days before James decided to come home.
The point guard prefers to land with one of four teams: The Minnesota Timberwolves, San Antonio Spurs, New York Knicks or Miami Heat. Irving also won’t commit to signing an extension with whichever team he’s traded to, according to Paul Pluto of Cleveland.com, and why should he? Irving has two seasons left on his current contract, does not possess a no-trade clause, and the Cavs can offer his services up to the highest bidder, whether that’s to a franchise of his liking or not.
Irving is also “unreachable,” according to Jason Lloyd of The Athletic and the Cavs have unsuccessfully in trying to contact him.
Pluto also reports that Denver won’t give up both members of their starting backcourt next season; Jamal Murray and Gary Harris in a deal for Irving. Obviously, Nikola Jokic is off the table in any such talks.
That scenario should lead to an easy ‘no’ from the Nuggets’ front office. Denver’s second and third best assets respectively are too much for even a talent like Irving.
Throughout the past year, we’ve seen a bevy of stars go on the market and get traded and in every such circumstance, that All-Star leaves town for less than their original asking price.
DeMarcus Cousins only netted the Kings Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway and a 2017 first round pick that was traded to Portland on draft night in exchange for two picks that the Kings used to select Justin Jackson and Harry Giles.
The Pacers got back a ho-hum package of Domantas Sabonis and Victor Oladipo for Paul George who only has one year remaining on his contract and the Bulls netted just Zach LaVine, Kris Dunn and the No. 7 selection Lauri Markkanen. Chicago also gave up No. 16 pick Justin Patton in the deal.
While teams start out demanding the farm for superstars, they rarely get what they’re asking for. If Cleveland thinks they’re getting a package for Irving like what Denver got for Carmelo Anthony from the Knicks in 2011, they’re mistaken.
The Cavs’ trade demands might be high right now, but they’ll likely drop as the regular season approaches considering Irving’s intentions are already well known.