Was Trading Kyrie Irving the Cavaliers’ Biggest Mistake?

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

One of this season’s biggest trade’s was undoubtedly Kyrie Irving’s move to Boston, leaving what seemed to be the perfect team behind at Cleveland. Why would the NBA champion make such a bold move in the first place – and why would the Cavaliers dare leave him out of their sights? A lot has been reported about the rivalry between LeBron and Irving, but new evidence surfaces that should put those nasty rumors to rest.

Is Kyrie’s Loss to Blame for the Cavs’ Underwhelming Performance?

The Cavaliers have been slightly out of luck lately – or maybe out of sync? They lost again to the Golden State Warriors on January 17th, completing a losing streak of only two wins in ten games and four losses in a row. LeBron seems a bit detached lately – although he still mostly carries the team on his shoulders in terms of scoring and playmaking, proving a worthy leader who still features highly on ratings and individual player performance tips even when at times he is not really at his best. We have certainly seen both him and the Cavs having some better moments. So who is to blame?

The talk of the town is, of course, Kyrie Irving’s loss and whether the Cavs were right in trading one of their superstars off – especially with Isaiah Thomas not being able to really add to the team due to his injuries. Of course, the Celtics suffered their part of the same fate, by losing Gordon Hayward in their opening game. Yet Irving seems to have miraculously been able to lift the whole team on his shoulders and propel them to greatness. The Celtics have been on a winning streak this season, counting 16 consecutive wins from October 20 to November 20 and including wins both against defending champions Golden State Warriors and LeBron’s Cavs.

LeBron Reportedly Wanted Kyrie to Stay

Rumor had it that LeBron did not really want Kyrie on the team and sort of pushed for his transfer. Irving for his part was disillusioned with James’ approach, including his constantly referring to Kyrie as “little brother” and “the kid” – which depending on who you ask sounds either affectionate or patronizing. In a nutshell, Kyrie felt he wasn’t getting the respect he deserved and he requested a trade – reportedly without even telling LeBron.

But according to some sources, Kyrie also perceived an earlier move to trade him as orchestrated by the LeBron camp and that really triggered his decision to leave. And truth be told, the Cavs did not really fight for him. Yet as a new report on ESPN reveals, nothing could be further from the truth. While LeBron supported the trade decision in public, he privately expressed his concerns and his desire to keep Kyrie on the team. We all know how that unfolded.

And now, with the stellar performance by the Boston team and Kyrie shining even more out of LeBron’s shadow, some within the Cavs camp are beginning to doubt if the team is really performing at its best – or whether things moved a bit too quickly during the rebuilding of the team’s roster last summer.