Kyrie Irving wants to be the big cheese. Irving is chafing at being second fiddle to perennial MVP candidate LeBron James in Cleveland — and even three straight trips to the NBA Finals haven’t made Irving any more accepting of James’ top dog position. Quite the opposite, if Kyrie’s trade request is as serious as the media is taking it in this slow news cycle. Irving evidently has a couple of teams he’d prefer to go to. One is the San Antonio Spurs.
At the Spurs Irving would also be teamed with a perennial MVP candidate — this time in Kawhi Leonard. But Leonard doesn’t command the off court attention that James does. Indeed Leonard seems as if he’d be happy to let someone else be the so-called “face of the franchise” if he just gets to play ball. And of course Leonard and Irving would be a deadly duo — Kawhi and Kyrie, the Killer K’s or some such moniker inevitable. (Kawhi might even show Kyrie how to lock down on defense.) Questions about how the Spurs would fit the ball-in-hand Irving into their team system are silly, really. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has consistently manipulated his system to play to his player’s strengths. Irving has more strengths than almost anybody in the NBA. Pop experienced the apex of Irving firsthand in March of 2015, when the guard exploded for 57 points against the Spurs in an OT win. “Kyrie Irving was unstoppable. I don’t know how to guard that,” Pop said. Maybe he won’t have to anymore?