The Cavaliers are still first in the Eastern Conference, so any of their issues of the comparative variety. Nevertheless, they’re just 11-6 since Tyronn Lue took over for David Blatt, and faltered on Sunday against a Wizards team that they should have been able to handle even with a resting LeBron. Effort was questioned, and word of dissatisfaction is starting to emanate from the locker room.
Stephen A. Smith said on First Take this morning that Kyrie Irving “ain’t too happy being in Cleveland,” dating back to last season. He followed that up with an appearance with Aaron Goldhammer and Emmett Golden on Cleveland’s ESPN Radio affiliate this afternoon (audio snippet above), full audio here). The station captured some of the bulletpoints:
It’s advisable to listen to the full context, but one of the other things Smith said was that Irving wants to be the man, which was his expectation when he signed for $90 million. It’s human nature that he doesn’t want to defer to LeBron with regard to both power and the ball — it’s one thing to not be the man, it’s another to be a bishop in LeBron’s kingdom. If this doesn’t wind up working out, he shouldn’t and won’t get a pass either.
Nevertheless, if a team with Kyrie as its second best player can’t stack up against Golden State, what is the ceiling of one with him as the unquestioned guy? Irving is a great scorer, and when he gets hot he is as unguardable as anybody in the world not named Stephen Curry. But, he’s a liability on defense and he always needs the ball in his hand. Durability is also a question.
It gets dicey because how many players are good enough to be the best guy on a team that can compete with the juggernaut Warriors? They don’t come available that often. This could wind up as a Cold Takes Exposed tweet in a few years but if I’m another NBA general manager I don’t think I’d bet my future on a squad led by Kyrie Irving.