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In the summer of 2010, LeBron James signed with the Miami Heat and the era of the super team officially began. Many fans, myself included, hated the idea of the super team. They had existed prior to James’ infamous decision but never before had the players so directly dictated the construction of a roster.
Ever since that summer, the league has changed. Many franchises have tried to build a super team with varying degrees of success.
It all came to a head last summer when Kevin Durant joined the previously 73-9 Golden State Warriors. The era of the super team had reached its apex as the Warriors constructed a four-headed monster that could not be stopped.
Throughout all of this, I saw the same complaints from fans over and over again. There was anger at James for joining up with Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade in Miami.
Then there was vitriol for Durant joining the Warriors team that beat him the year before. Fans were crying foul and wondering why players would rather join stacked teams then beat them. Above all else, fans complained that super teams had ruined the competitiveness of the NBA.
Suddenly, one NBA superstar gave NBA fans what they had claimed they wanted all along. Kyrie Irving essentially demanded a trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers. He inexplicably grew tired of playing next to the best player in the world.
Despite three Finals appearances in as many years as well as one championship, Irving wants out. He would rather be the alpha dog on a different team than be Robin to Batman in Cleveland.
Isn’t this what everyone said they wanted?
A superstar choosing to strike out on his own and carry a team on his shoulders rather than play alongside other superstars should, in theory, give the NBA more parity. Instead of a few very good teams and a slew of non-contenders, we would have a larger number of good teams on a more even playing field.
Irving seemingly bucked the current super team trend to instead forge his own path. This should be great for the NBA. Unfortunately, it was the wrong superstar.
It seems inevitable that Cleveland will deal Irving. The rift between him and James appears too large to be reconciled.
Even if James leaves for L.A. next summer as many believe he will, Irving is apparently just as finished with the Cavaliers’ management as he is with James. The best move for Cleveland is to get as much for Irving as they can, while they can.
The Golden State Warriors are the prohibitive favorite to win the NBA championship next year. Now that the majority of free agency moves are done, the league landscape looks just about the same as it did two months ago.
The only team with even a prayer of a chance of beating the Warriors is the Cleveland Cavaliers. If they deal Irving, we may as well hand the Warriors the title now.
Fans wanted more NBA superstars to go alone rather than join with other stars. They also wanted more teams with a legitimate shot to win the title.
Kyrie Irving gave us the former.
Unfortunately, if a trade does happen, he’s just made next June’s outcome even more predictable than this year’s.
Careful what you wish for.