As all NBA fans who are competent or aren’t living under a rock have heard, Kyrie has requested to be traded from the Cavaliers as of last week, according to NBA insider Brian Windhorst. The story is that Kyrie has been frustrated, as have many, with the Cavaliers this off-season, and he has come to the conclusion that he does not want to play with the King anymore. He would prefer to be the lead guy for a team rather than stay as LeBron’s sidekick. He has 4 teams that he’d want to go to: San Antonio, New York, Miami, and Minnesota. Out of all of these, he himself has the most interest in going to San Antonio, mainly because they could also compete for championships and that they have a coach that Kyrie (and all other stars) has nothing but respect for: Gregg Poppovich. All of this has already been reported, but I just wanted to make sure that none of you or myself were forgetting anything.
Many have speculated about why this is happening, what it means, what are the chances, but I had my conclusion the moment after I heard this news. As soon as I read the words, “Kyrie wants to be the focal point,” the word Kobe popped into my head. Kyrie is pulling a Kobe. It’s not even hard to see. Kobe in his early days was always seen as an extremely popular and talented player who loved to shoot, but was supposedly being carried by his physically dominant, superstar teammate that doubled as the league’s alpha dog: Shaquille O’Neal. Sound familiar? Kyrie is very popular, as he is always voted as an all star starter despite the presence of obviously more deserving guards like John Wall and Isaiah Thomas. He is uber-talented with his array of ridiculous handles, unstoppable finishes, and tough shot making. And Kyrie LOVES to shoot. Just look at his years before LeBron. He was gunning all the time and especially when the game was on the line. And LeBron is the ultimate dominant physical specimen and the best player whenever he wants to be. The common narrative is that LeBron makes every team a championship contender no matter how much of a dumpster fire their role players and coaches are (see 2007-2010 Cavs). The whole team is LeBron. LeBron carries everybody. Kyrie could never do that. Well, Kyrie has heard this noise, and he’s on a mission to prove otherwise. He wants to be the best player in the world, and he can’t accomplish that when the current holder of that title resides in his own locker room.
This is what Kobe wanted back in ’04. He and Shaq had their infamous feud where Kobe wanted to prove how great he was, while Shaq wanted Kobe to back off and let him have fun while he owned people. The Cavs are now headed in a similar direction, however, their Kobe is the one who’s on the way out, but they also might lose LeBron as well *cough* Lakers 2018 *cough*. And just think, what freaking chance do you have to keep LeBron if Kyrie leaves? Unless you trade him for Carmelo AND Dwyane Wade somehow, you’re pretty much screwed. Can anyone say all aboard for Kevin Love as the hero of Cleveland within two years? No one? Okay. But the whole Kobe-Kyrie thing makes perfect sense because there is no person Kyrie tries to be like more than the Mamba himself. He thinks he can carry the team without the reigning superstar. He thrives on taking tough shots, no matter what shot or what situation it’s in. He even personally face timed Kobe the very moment after the 2016 Finals when he hit the shot heard round the world. In Kyrie’s mind, he’s just doing exactly what his idol would have done. And don’t give me crap about Kobe’s “loyalty”. He always called out teammates and guys in the front office, almost signed with the Clippers in ’04, was just about to force a trade to Chicago in ’07, and was determined to leave in ’08 until the infamous Pau Gasol hijacking. Kobe’s loyalty doesn’t affect Kyrie, only his mindset, or as some call it, “Mamba Mentality.”
Overall, if this trade eventually happens, I believe it will be bad for all sides involved. The Cavs will officially have their window closed and will have to go back to mediocrity. In fact, I believe they should simply trade LeBron and Love as well if they ditch Kyrie. LeBron obviously won’t come back, so get a boatload of draft picks and assets in order to help you rebuild, much like the Celtics abuse of the Nets in the Pierce and Garnett trade. As for Kyrie, I’ve stated my opinion on him in the past. I’m not his biggest fan, being a Curry guy myself, but he also can just make me leave my seat at any moment when he’s on screen. I eventually decided that Kyrie is the perfect 2nd best player for a championship team. He’s a player who is exceptional, elite, and even the outright the best in the league at in some areas of the game (finishing, handles, scoring, clutch shooting). And then in other areas he is abysmal (passing, defense, decision-making). As the 2nd player, he can dominate teams with his good traits as they have to focus on LeBron, while Bronny and his greatness can cover for all of Kyrie’s shortcomings. Sure, it might be fun to see Kyrie go full Westbrook-mode and gun for stats and hype, but like Westbrook, his team would not go anywhere far.
In conclusion, Kyrie wants to leave in order to be the alpha dog, just like his idol and inspiration, Kobe Bean Bryant. I don’t know where he’ll go, how he’ll do, how the Cavs we’ll do, and I’m even doubtful that an actual trade goes through any time soon. What I do know is that this is another installment in what has been an insanely entertaining NBA off-season.
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