LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers once again succeeded to fully dominate the Eastern Conference after a thrilling best-of-seven series against the Boston Celtics. The Cavaliers are set to face the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals for the fourth consecutive season. However, unlike the past three years, Cleveland will be heading to the final stage of the season without one of their "Big Three," Kyrie Irving.
Last summer, the Cavaliers decided to trade Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, the Brooklyn Nets' 2018 first-round pick, and the Miami Heat's 2020 second-round pick. Most people believed the Cavaliers won the trade mainly because of the valuable assets they got from the player who already wanted his way out of the team. Unfortunately, the three players they got from the blockbuster deal had failed to become a huge help for LeBron James this season.
In an exclusive interview with Rachel Nichols of ESPN, James said for the first time that he opposed the idea of trading Kyrie Irving. The 33-year-old superstar revealed that he tried to call the Cavaliers' management to ask them not to move Irving.
"Even if you start back to the summertime where I felt like it was just bad for our franchise just to be able to trade away our superstar point guard," James said. "A guy that I had been in so many battles with over the last three years, and obviously I wasn't a part of the communications and know exactly what went on between the two sides. But I just felt like it was bad timing for our team."LeBron James believes that trading their superstar point guard wasn't the right decision at that time, knowing that they just got dethroned by the Warriors in the NBA Finals 2017. James must be thinking that instead of moving Irving, the Cavaliers should have found a way to further improve their roster in order to strengthen their chance of reclaiming the NBA championship title.
Kyrie Irving is undeniably a huge loss for the Cavaliers, especially with Kevin Love failing to live up to expectations as their second-best player. Without him, Cleveland just finished fourth in the Eastern Conference and looked very vulnerable in the playoffs. Even if LeBron James shows the same performance he did in their previous games, it remains questionable if the Cavaliers have a real chance of beating the Warriors' "Super Death Lineup" in a best-of series.
Other Cavaliers players should step up for Cleveland to at least give the Warriors a tough fight for their third NBA championship title in four years. Game 1 of the NBA Finals will be on Thursday night at the Oracle Arena.