Kyrie Irving hearts LeBron James.
Following the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Game 5 and subsequent NBA Finals loss to the Golden State Warriors, the point man sang the praises of his teammate in a way that will give you chills, per SI.com’s Ben Golliver:
Cavaliers' Kyrie Irving with an amazing tribute to LeBron James pic.twitter.com/XXZan1lwHE
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) June 13, 2017
Man, Kyrie is going to great lengths to make sure LeBron doesn’t have him traded, isn’t he?
In all seriousness, the bond between these two, despite the age gap, appears to have grown by the year. James returned to the Cavaliers in part to play with Irving, who, at 25, may yet take it to another level. He’ll probably never be a plus, or an even, defender for his career, but he’s a ridiculously talented one-on-one scorer, reliable spot-up shooter and, on occasion, one helluva playmaker.
Entering the offseason, though, we have to wonder whether Irving or Kevin Love is totally safe. The Cavaliers need to bridge a chasm between them and the Warriors. They won’t do it by banking on internal improvement; that’s a good way to entice James to leave in 2018, when he becomes a free agent.
If the Cavaliers could flip Irving for one of Jimmy Butler or Paul George, would they? Or will the Kevin Love be their sole source of trade bait?
Cleveland has plenty of questions to answer—starting with the future of general manager David Griffin, who still doesn’t have a new contract. For now, in the immediate aftermath of a Finals letdown, the Cavaliers have this moment, this proof that James has reached Irving and the rest of the team on a profound level.