In the summer of 2017, the basketball world was rocked by Kyrie Irving’s shocking trade request to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers and part ways with his superstar teammate, LeBron James. The move sent shockwaves throughout the NBA landscape and left fans wondering what could have been if Irving had chosen to remain alongside James. In this article, we delve into the alternate timeline where Kyrie never left LeBron, examining the potential impact on both players, the Cavaliers’ success, and the league as a whole.
A Formidable Duo
The pairing of LeBron James and Kyrie Irving was a force to be reckoned with during their time together in Cleveland. Their complementary skill sets elevated the Cavaliers to new heights, culminating in a historic 2016 NBA Championship. Some even feel that it was better than his partnership with Dwayne Wade in Miami.
The Heat era could have extended if he stayed, rather than having to wait until Jimmy Butler showed up to bring them back to the Finals. Butler has transformed the franchise, and they’re so close, but they’re still not favored to take home the Larry O’Brien trophy. Even NBA betting shows they’re underdogs at 9/4 compared to the Nuggets at 1/3. If Bron stayed, they could have had another few championships by now, possibly with Butler.
Back to Cavs LeBron and Irving. James, the quintessential playmaker and dominant force, thrived with Irving as his dynamic scoring sidekick. Irving, known for his clutch shot-making and elite ball-handling, provided the perfect counterpoint to LeBron’s versatile game. Had they remained together, their chemistry and on-court synergy would have continued to flourish.
With James and Irving leading the charge, the Cavaliers would have remained perennial title contenders in the years that followed. The duo’s offensive prowess, combined with LeBron’s leadership and Kyrie’s ability to perform in crucial moments, would have posed immense challenges for opposing teams. They would have formed one of the most formidable duos in NBA history, capable of dismantling even the stoutest of defenses.
Extended Supremacy in the East
In the alternate timeline where Kyrie stayed, the Cavaliers would have maintained their dominance in the Eastern Conference. The LeBron-Kyrie tandem, accompanied by a supporting cast featuring Kevin Love and role players, would have been the team to beat. Their presence alone would have deterred many star players from joining other Eastern Conference teams, leading to a prolonged era of Cavaliers’ supremacy.
With James and Irving steering the Cavaliers, their continued success would have set the stage for memorable playoff rivalries and clashes. The team would have remained a perennial threat to other contenders like the Boston Celtics, Toronto Raptors, and Philadelphia 76ers. These matchups would have intensified as each team battled for the ultimate prize, creating a new chapter in the annals of NBA rivalries.
The decision for Kyrie Irving to remain alongside LeBron James would have had profound implications for his individual legacy. Playing alongside one of the greatest players of all time would have afforded him the opportunity to learn from LeBron’s leadership and further develop his skills under his mentorship. This, in turn, might have elevated Irving’s status as one of the top guards in the league and solidified his place among the NBA elite.
The impact on LeBron James’ legacy would have been intriguing as well. His ability to maintain the Cavaliers’ success and continue competing for championships with Irving would have bolstered his claim as one of the greatest winners in NBA history. With Irving by his side, James might have been able to secure additional championships and strengthen his argument for the GOAT (Greatest of All Time) title.
While we will never know what could have transpired had Kyrie Irving decided to remain alongside LeBron James in Cleveland, it is fascinating to explore the possibilities. The combination of their immense talents, competitive drive, and championship experience would have likely resulted in an extended era of Cavaliers’ dominance and reshaped the landscape of the NBA.
However, would new interest in each other seems like a reunion could be on the cards. Could we see LeBron and Kyrie together again?