we’ve established that Kyrie wants to be the man on his own team. Great. But when we look at his trade wish list, we got problems:
San Antonio Spurs — Already established. Kwahi Leonard is the star, but as I heard one sports commentator on the radio say the other day, the only “man” on the Spurs team is head coach Greg Popovich.
New York Knicks — Dumpster fire organization. That ain’t what ya want, Kyrie.
Minnesota Timberwolves — Again, with Jimmy Butler there now playing for his old coach, you’re not muscling in on that. It’s a more established team than what would fit Kyrie’s wishes.
Miami Heat — I’ll ad- mit, of the four, this makes the most sense. But Atlanta makes more. Why? Here comes the 2-for-1:
Kyrie already likes San Antonio. There’s something about its culture, about Popovich’s offensive coaching philosophy that piques his interest. But, again, he won’t be the man there. But in Atlanta, you’ve got a Popovich disciple in head coach Mike Budenholzer. He knows Popovich’s system, and has employed it to reasonable success in Atlanta. So you get San Antonio-style team culture without the other already established players, therefore allowing you to carve out your own identity, uninhibited by other players competing for your spotlight. Perfect scenario!
5. Going after Kyrie would be a franchisechanging statement. I hear people ask all the time: “Why doesn’t anyone ever want to come to Atlanta?” It’s a top-notch city that seems to attract everything and everyone except star athletes. Blame that on the front office. One reason why none of the big named players come here is because the Hawks’ front office has done little to nothing to show it’s serious about building a winner. Even if Kyrie spurns an Atlanta overture, it still bodes well for the franchise as the most alluring free agent pool in league history looms next offseason, because it shows other superstars that the Hawks now have an aggressive front office that wants to win NOW. And if Irving says, “Yes, I’ll come to Atlanta,” well that just made the Hawks more appealing to other stars than it’s been in years.
Listen, I understand Irving isn’t a perfect player. He’s got question marks on defense. He dribbles a lot. He’s had some attitude issues in the past. I get it. But for Atlanta, the plusses far outweigh the minuses — especially when you are currently bereft of major star power. And for Kyrie, again, it’s the best place possible for him to be his own man, build his own team and play in a system and for a coach that would cater to his talents.
Besides all that, red looks good on him anyway.