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A Mild Defense Of Kyrie Irving

Everyone thinks playing with LeBron is the greatest thing in the world. What if it’s more than that?

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2017 NBA Finals - Game Five
 OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 12: Kyrie Irving #2 of the Cleveland Cavaliers is defended by Klay Thompson #11 of the Golden State Warriors during the second half in Game 5 of the 2017 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on June 12, 2017 in Oakland, California. 
Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Former Duke star Kyrie Irving has taken a lot of heat for asking Cleveland for a trade. So it’s kind of a nice change to see someone stick up for him a bit.

SI’s Rohan Nadkarni says “[w]hy should Irving commit to Cleveland when James himself won’t? Tying yourself to LeBron also means tying yourself to someone who wants to maximize his leverage and always have an escape plan ready at all times. Irving’s trade demand could be as much about on-court fit as it is about LeBron’s unparalleled control over the organization. Suppose James were to leave next summer—and right now he doesn’t have many reasons to stay—Irving would be left on a team devoid of assets and tied up in salary cap knots.

“On one hand, detaching yourself from LeBron and forgoing a guaranteed trip to the Finals every year sounds incredibly short-sighted. But Irving has already tasted the glory of winning a championship, and playing in a more stable situation could be more appealing to him than attaching himself to LeBron’s long-term desires.”

When you look at it that way, it makes a lot more sense.

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