The cliché is “winning cures all ills.”
The reality is “winning masks the symptoms of the illness.” From the Billy Martin Oakland Athletics through today’s Cleveland Cavaliers, the chance to win has kept combustible players together longer than they would have otherwise. But it doesn’t last forever. Just as Shaq and Kobe.
“We all knew certain things about this team that’s tough,” Shumpert told Complex News’ “Everyday Struggle” in a wide-ranging interview….
“(People say) it’s LeBron and Kyrie hate each other,” Shumpert said. “No, it’s two dudes that need the ball. LeBron needs the ball, Kyrie needs the ball, Kevin (Love) needs the ball. Swish (J.R. Smith) can’t shoot unless he has the ball. Kyle Korver can’t shoot unless he has the ball…
“I don’t think it’s f*** LeBron,” Shumpert said, characterizing Irving’s trade request. “I think it’s more of, ‘I learned, we won together, it’s time for something different.'”
Or, Irving recognized the writing on the wall and didn’t want to be the guy holding the bag a year from now in Cleveland.
Not many players would have asked out, but Irving marches to his own drummer. Teammates don’t describe him so much as difficult, more just different. He got in his own head about the situation and Cleveland, whatever it may be, and decided he wanted out. Now.
Whatever the reason he bombed, things will be awkward for a while — Cavs fans will boo Irving louder than they will cheer the banner opening night. But someday Irving and LeBron will hash it out and be fine, much like Shaq and Kobe.
Maybe the formula is winning + time cures all ills.