During their three seasons together in Cleveland, LeBron James and Kyrie Irving were quite the one-two punch for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Whether it was Uncle Drew tossing alley oops to the King, each of them eclipsing the 40-point mark in Game 5 of the 2016 NBA Finals,1 their postgame handshakes, or last the way they were able to bring a championship back to Cleveland for the first time in 52 years, the two became a special tandem in Cleveland sports history; both as teammates and individually.
But, on Friday, after reports surfaced that Irving asked for a trade, things seemed to fall quite fast. Although the news came out last week, the meeting that No. 2 supposedly asked owner Dan Gilbert for a trade took place July 3 according to reports. Soon after that meeting, James and the rest of the Cavs were notified of Irving’s request. After initial shock, the King seems to have gotten his emotions together regarding the situation. Not only has he mentioned that he will focus on winning a second championship with the Cavs this upcoming season with no matter who else is on the roster, but he seems to be ready for Irving not to be a Cavalier any longer. According to cleveland.com’s Joe Vardon, after the Cavs signed Derrick Rose Monday night, James is excited to have a new point guard.
Rose, 28, the 2011 NBA MVP whose career has been hampered by knee injuries and reputation tarnished by a rape trial,2 will come to the Cavs looking for his first trip to the Finals after eight pro seasons. He’s also looking at a potential starting spot in the same lineup with LeBron James, now that Irving has asked for a trade and James is eager to see him off.
In case you skipped over that last sentence, it reads: James is eager to see him off, referring to Irving.
Although many Cavs fans may hate to see him go, No. 23 appears ready to move on and prepare for next season no matter who else is on his team. The best basketball player in the world and one of the best to ever play the game, James knows that he can lead the Cavs to the Finals, especially in the weak Eastern Conference. Without being able to do much in terms of changing Irving’s mind, there’s only one thing James can do and that’s look ahead. But, looking ahead means that he will have a new point guard for the first time in four years.
James seems to be excited to have Rose on board.
Either way, No. 23 knows that he must have his entire focus on the 2017-18 season. With it possibly being his last in Cleveland, he wants to win his fourth ring, but that means getting past the juggernaut Warriors, a team that sits atop the NBA and may do so for the foreseeable future. With Irving having one foot out the door, there’s no turning back now, especially after James admitted that he is eager to see him go.
[EDIT Tuesday 25 July 2017 11:15am]: LeBron James took to social media to refute the reports that he is ready to see Kyrie Irving leave the Cleveland Cavaliers.