Should The Cleveland Cavaliers Move On From Kyrie Irving?

Feb 22, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving (2) reacts in the third quarter against the Detroit Pistons at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 22, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving (2) reacts in the third quarter against the Detroit Pistons at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports /

With the Cleveland Cavaliers struggling and failing to put together as good of a season as expected is it time to look at moving on from Kyrie Irving?

Stephen A. Smith is usually good at sending the basketball world for a spin on occasion, but Monday he threw us in a serious loop with some news regarding Cleveland Cavaliers star point guard Kyrie Irving.

On ESPN’s First Take Monday morning Smith reported that Irving isn’t happy with his current situation and could want to move to another team.

After Monday night’s win against the Indiana Pacers Irving threw out the report and said that he wants to help his team win a championship for the city of Cleveland.

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"“There’s nothing really to address,” Irving said in his postgame comments. “Obviously there’s going to be some misunderstandings; it’s part of being on a team. For me, as a maturing young player in this league, I know what we have and the opportunity we have in order to be something special.”"

There’s nothing wrong with Irving wanting a bigger role with the Cavaliers if he really is unhappy. He’s one of the NBA‘s top young point guards with career averages of 20.8 points and 5.5 assists per game. He can score from anywhere on the floor, has one of the best handles in the game and has what it takes to operate as a floor general at a high level.

The two biggest knocks on Irving’s game are defense and limited distribution. Both have been evident in the Cavs’ recent struggles and appear detrimental to Cleveland’s success in the postseason.

LeBron James has had to serve as the team’s leading assist man (6.6 assists per game) and with as many minutes under his belt as he has he shouldn’t have to play point guard all the time for this team with Irving on the roster.

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When James isn’t on the floor initiating the Cavaliers’ offense, the team is 3-12 over the last two seasons and have lost those 12 games by an average margin of 14.9 points, according to

Before James came back to his hometown team last season Cleveland was a lottery team in desperate need of an infusion of veteran talent. Maybe that’s the best indication of what Irving really is? Is he nothing more than a good stats/bad team guy?

There’s no questioning Irving’s talent on the floor as a scoring machine and gifted offensive talent, but leading a championship team as a quintessential point guard isn’t who he’s been up to this point in his career.

If that’s the kind of player the Cavaliers need, then it’s time to look at moving on from Irving and bringing in a player who’s exactly the kind of leader and distributor LeBron needs next to him.

At the trade deadline ESPN’s Kevin Pelton explored the notion of swapping Irving for Los Angeles Clippers star Chris Paul. I’m not opposed to this deal one bit and in some ways it makes sense for both teams.

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For the Clippers they would blow up a core that hasn’t proven worthy of contending in the Western Conference to get a little younger around Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. They could even move those two and build a much younger squad around Irving.

As for Cleveland Paul can come in as the second veteran capable of putting his teammates in the proper places to succeed while allowing James to get more time in the post and focus on being an inside-outside mismatch down low versus having to focus his entire game around finding teammates as a member of the Cavaliers’ perimeter talent.

James is getting older and his future is at power forward. Being a guy similar to Draymond Green is a key to unlocking Cleveland’s full potential, regardless of what happens with Kevin Love in future seasons. A Paul/James pick-and-roll is scary to think about in the playoffs, so the Cavaliers should do everything in their power to make a deal like this happen.

Unless you can get a star like Paul back then it doesn’t make sense to move Irving at this point. He’s young and could still develop into a leader as he matures and grows as a player and person.

But if the Clippers were to put Paul on the table to signal in a rebuild? Don’t think twice, LeBron, pull the trigger and get one of your best friends in Cleveland.

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If championships are what the Cavaliers truly desire then it’s time to explore leaving Irving in the rearview mirror.