LeBron James has single-handedly destroyed the Cleveland Cavaliers’ franchise twice now. The first go-round was shortly after the team invested tons of money to try to build a franchise around him and he bolted to the Miami Heat. But the Cavaliers recovered, thanks to some draft luck and landing perennial All-Star Kyrie Irving; and then James wanted back in, so he came back to Cleveland and helped the Cavaliers win their first-ever title.
The stage was set for a mega-team to get even better during the offseason, but then we learned that Irving wanted out. Rumors began swirling that Irving wanted to be traded, because who wants to play Robin to James’ Batman?
And now James’ mission to secretly undo the Cavaliers from the inside is complete: Irving has been traded to East rivals the Boston Celtics for point guard Isaiah Thomas, forward Jae Crowder, center Ante Zizic and the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 unprotected first-round pick, ESPN reports. The trade comes amid rumors that this is James’ last season in Cleveland and he’s supposedly looking to form NBA Voltron with some combination of elite players to try to defeat the Golden State Warriors.
If this happens, if James leaves the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2018, then he won’t just be taking his talents to whatever new team; he will be the sole reason that Kyrie Irving is no longer with the team. At the most, a James- and Irving-less team is not a serious threat. Not even in the lowly East.
This is a sad day for Cavs fans, and it rests on the broad shoulders of King James. As the leader of the team, he was supposed to make this right. He was supposed to make sure that Irving felt respected and wanted. Instead, Irving was traded for an All-Star and servicemen, and once James leaves, that will be all that’s left.
Look, outside the NBA, I love LeBron James. He’s been one of the most vocal players in pushing the fight for black lives, and he has not been afraid to use his voice to push for social change. On the court, however, Bron-Bron is all about building his brand and using his image and cachet to change franchises sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse.
He’s won titles in Miami and Cleveland, and neither team has been the same since he left. And he didn’t leave because the teams couldn’t pay him. Hell, both Miami and Cleveland owners would have offered him both of their lungs to stay, but he’s chasing something else, and until we know what that is, you can expect more carnage in his wake.
Read more at ESPN.