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The Covington News - - SPORTS -

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.

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