In the 2014 NBA offseason, LeBron James decided to leave the Miami Heat as an unrestricted free agent to return to his hometown team, Cleveland Cavaliers. The arrival of James, who formed Cleveland’s “Big Three” with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, changed the Cavaliers’ status from a lottery team to a legitimate title contender in the Eastern Conference. In his last four years in Cleveland, James proved that he is the best basketball player on the planet, leading the Cavaliers to four consecutive appearances in the NBA Finals and giving them their first ever NBA championship title.
Before LeBron James returned, former Cavaliers General Manager David Griffin revealed that Kyrie Irving had a different plan for the team. Per Amico Hoops, Griffin said that Irving had tried recruiting Gordon Hayward, Trevor Ariza, and Channing Frye to the Cavaliers in 2014. Earlier this month, Jason Lloyd of The Athletic reported that Irving didn’t really want LeBron to return to Cleveland.
“It has been made clear to me by multiple people, Kyrie never really wanted LeBron to come back [to Cleveland] in the first place,” Lloyd said on 92.3 The Fan in Cleveland. “He didn’t think it was necessary. LeBron said something to Kyrie on the court following a game when he was with Miami something to the effect of, ‘Keep going, keep doing what you’re doing. You never know, I could be back here one day.’ And Kyrie basically said, ‘What’s he talking about, we don’t need him.'”
— WBZ Boston Sports (@wbzsports) July 27, 2018
It’s intriguing to know what could have happened if the Cavaliers decided to go with Irving’s plan instead of pursuing LeBron James in free agency. The Cavaliers would not only acquire Gordon Hayward, Trevor Ariza, and Channing Frye, but there is also a strong chance that they would be using the No. 1 pick to draft Andrew Wiggins instead of trading him to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Kevin. The core of Irving, Hayward, Ariza, and Wiggins will undeniably make the Cavaliers one of the top favorite teams in the Eastern Conference.
Unfortunately, it is still a big question if Irving’s “Super Team” can beat the Miami Heat’s “Big Three” of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh in a best-of-seven series. As of now, James and Irving are no longer in Cleveland. LeBron is now playing for the Los Angeles Lakers, while Irving just had his first season with the Boston Celtics. If the Lakers and the Celtics succeed to dominate their respective conferences, James and Irving could meet each other in the NBA Finals for the first time as rivals.