It has become increasingly likely that the Cavaliers' Big 3 of LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love will be broken up this summer.
Cleveland's championship window is closing as LeBron now has 12 years on his NBA odometer. As great as No. 23 still is, we saw last June that one man and one man alone cannot win a title in today's basketball climate. And it will only become more difficult as LeBron passes go on his 32nd birthday this calendar year.
The Cavs must surround LeBron with more adaptable sidekicks, because it's clear that the current nucleus is not cutting it. We've heard the Love trade rumors almost since the day he arrived in Cleveland, but Monday there were two separate reports that hinted that Irving may be looking to get out of Dodge.
ESPN's Steven A. Smith said the following on First Take:
“Dating back to last year, I’ve been told that Kyrie Irving ain’t too happy being in Cleveland,” Smith said. “The situation is not ideal for him. I don’t know the particulars, I haven’t spoken to him personally. It’s something that I’ve been hearing for months; that under ideal circumstances he would prefer to be someplace other than Cleveland.”
"Behind the scenes, James has been growing livid about being the sole proprietor of making sure guys are involved, and in a rhythm. He's used to carrying such a workload, but on this team, he shouldn't have to. From top to bottom, this is the deepest team James has been a member of. He needs help.
Just because you have a snow blower, doesn't mean you should overuse it. Sometimes, it's all right to break out the shovel. Irving has to take some of that responsibility away ...
Midway in the fourth quarter with the Cavaliers facing a 27-point deficit [Sunday against Washington], James hopped up from the bench and headed to the locker room. He had apparently seen enough. And after the game, before reporters were granted locker room access, James exited the locker room with a heavy puff coat and the hood over his head to leave without being bothered or perhaps noticed.
But you could tell he was disgusted ...
When head coach Tyronn Lue was asked if he had enough playmakers on this team, he cleverly sideswiped the question and instead informed us that James, Irving and Matthew Dellavedova are the team's three creators.
You could make the argument that Dellavedova is the second-best playmaker on the roster. After all, he is averaging more assists than Irving.
'It makes it tough because the offense, we run so much stuff through LeBron that he's getting everybody involved, and now the same stuff you ran with LeBron, you can't run it with different players,' Lue tried to explain.
That may be true, but that's selling Irving's talents short. He's capable of being better and making others better no matter the personnel on the floor. The great scorers can pick their spots and survey the landscape before throwing haymakers.
It's time for less eying the basket and more eying a teammate. Irving is young and I suspect he'll eventually get there, but the sooner the better considering the Cavaliers are in a dire period of championship or bust.
He needs to learn from this, and if he does, that's when this team will have reached its full potential."