LeBron James and Kyrie Irving represent the future of the NBA, along with a few other select players, of course. In this modern day creating up reconstruction of teams, the stars often team-up. Could James and Irving do the same?
First off, let’s not discount the Cleveland Cavaliers. They’re losing games now, but with a roster stacked with potential stars, their future is bright. Plus, they’ll likely get another lottery pick–perhaps top five–in this year’s draft to add to their collection of rising stars.
However, the Cavs’ plan has a negative side to it, as all plans generally do. It’s as simple as they’re highly-touted prospects not panning out, resulting in turmoil where all these years of stocking up, produce a roster full of lost causes.
That’s worst-case scenario, but brings up an interesting point: Would Irving ponder departing Cleveland in James footsteps if he feels like the Cavaliers are headed nowhere?
Well, who wouldn’t? Stars want to win at some point, as James proved when he teamed up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami. Sure, posting incredible stat lines is one thing, but a player is measured by his rings. Some players are exceptions, such as Steve Nash.
Currently, Irving doesn’t seem intent on leaving the team that drafted him with the first pick in the 2011 draft. He said, “[Leaving the Cavs has] never crossed my mind,” said Irving when asked if he has considered “LeBron-ing.”
Irving can have his opinion now, sure, but at the end of 2015, when his contract is up, his opinion then might be entirely different if none of the Cavs prospects have materialized.
James, meanwhile, is in a familiar boat; except, he’s dealing with declining veterans instead of unproven rookies and sophomores.
Wade, for instance, is averaging only 20.9 points per game, which is his worst mark since the 2003-04 season. Bosh, on the other hand, simply feeds off James and Wade. And he does this quite well, shooting north of 50 percent from 16-24 feet.
However, the Heat’s window of opportunity to win another title is growing small, which could be the mainspring for LeBron to use his early termination option after the 2013-14 campaign. This option would entitle him to escape his contract two years early if he wishes to do so.
He also has an ETO in his deal that he could exercise after the 2014-15 season.
To be sure, James hasn’t revealed an interest in ending his stint with the Heat short. Currently, James and the Heat seem poised for another championship run. There’s no logical explanation out there that would explain why he would leave South Beach now.
Plus, he can’t, at least not yet.
Though in a couple years, when Wade’s approaching 34 and the Heat’s spare parts are gone, he may think better of wasting a season with a team that’s past its prime, whereas he will still be in his prime.
To clarify, Irving can become a free agent after the 2013-14 season if the Cavs don’t pick up his team option. Assuming they do, he can become a free agent a year later. Then, if James doesn’t decide to use his termination clause in 2013-14, he can proceed to do it the next year, setting the table for him and Irving to hit the open market simultaneously.
Is there any way the Los Angeles Lakers could lure him and James onto the big stage?
The chances of this happening are actually higher than you might presume. Furtively, the Lakers might be drawing up a plan to land James, because Kobe Bryant is a free agent after the 2013-14 season. So yes, the Lakers would in fact be replacing Bryant with James. It doesn’t sound right, but the door is open for this to happen.
As for Irving, there’s been merely a whisper about him hoping on L.A.’s bandwagon after the 2014-15 season. What brings this speculation to surface, however, is the fact that Los Angeles will need a point guard come 2015. Nash will likely retire after the 2014-15 season, leaving the Lakers with no other option but to pursue a replacement. Irving would be a pretty good replacement, but LA would likely have to wait a year to pursue him.
Money isn’t going to prevent the Lakers from going after James or Itving. In fact, this won’t be an obstacle for the Cavs either, as they will have roughly $18 million on the books after the 2014-15 campaign.
If Cleveland was to get into a bidding war with the Lakers, it wouldn’t be David vs. Goliath as many would figure.
There are certainly a lot of “if’s,” but it’s not like it’s impossible. Remember, anything can happen when we’re talking about the Lakers, and James.
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