The thought of trading your best player away may seem like an awful idea on many levels, but this is Cleveland, after all.
The third-year pro has already been named NBA Rookie of the Year and an All-Star, and he won the three-point shooting competition at last year's All-Star Weekend. He stands as Cleveland's best athlete and star in any sport, and he is just 21 years of age.
However, the Cavaliers are off to a 4-12 start to the season and are just 49-115 since Irving joined the team.
If the Cavaliers' dismal season continues, would they consider dealing Irving?
The Case to Trade Kyrie
As already mentioned, as great as Irving has been, his success hasn't led to many Cavalier wins.
There's also been an issue of durability with Irving. He's missed 39 of a possible 165 games, or almost 24 percent of his team's contests. When he plays, he's great, but that much time off should be cause for concern.
Be it the fault of Mike Brown or just an early-season slump, Irving isn't shooting the ball very well at all this season.
Here's a look at his percentages the past three years.
*marks career low
Irving is only more experienced, has better teammates around him and should only be getting better.
So why the drop in percentages?
The Cavaliers have to consider value as well.
Right now, Irving's trade value would still be sky high due to his talent, age and contract. He's under his rookie deal for one more year and can sign an extension before the 2014-15 season begins.
Trading him now would land another star player or, possibly, another high pick in the star-studded 2014 draft. (This pick would supplement the Cavs' own potential lottery selection should they end this season with a poor enough record.)
The Case to Keep Irving
As established, Irving is the Cavaliers' best player, but he also represents their best chance to recruit other star players to join him.
Few players in today's NBA are going to sign with a team that doesn't already have a star player. You need multiple star players to win a championship no matter how good the supporting cast may be.
Keeping Irving is key if the Cavaliers want to make a run at a big free agent this summer. Trading him would signify another rebuilding process and almost guarantee no big name would be signing in Cleveland anytime soon.
Irving also has the unique opportunity to shed some positive light on Cleveland.
He should be a key member of future Team USA Olympic Basketball squads, and Irving's Uncle Drew character has been a hit nationwide.
For once, it's nice to have someone represent the team and city of Cleveland in such a positive way.
The shooting percentages and drop in production are baffling, but it's not like Irving is the only Cavalier who's struggling. According to 82games.com, Irving, Tristan Thompson, Anderson Varejao, Dion Waiters, Alonzo Gee and Tyler Zeller all have worse PER's now than a season ago.
Is Irving struggling? Yes. Is he the only one? Absolutely not.
Another reason to keep Irving is that he has an opportunity to become one of the best Cavaliers of all time.
Mark Price is thought of to be the best point guard in Cavaliers history, but Irving has been better statistically thus far in his career.
|Career Stats w/Cavs||PTS||RBS||AST||STLS||FG%||PER|
When you have a player like Irving who has the chance to be one of the greatest in team history, why trade him so early in his career?
There is an argument to be made for both sides, but right now, the Cavaliers have to keep Kyrie Irving.
Yes, the team is terrible, but trading away its best player probably isn't the best way to fix that.
Superstars are hard to come by in Cleveland, and when we get one, the team needs to do everything it can to keep him.
Irving is just 21. By the time he hits 26, he could be the best player in the NBA for all we know. Cleveland needs to stick with the plan and offer Irving an extension before next season to ensure his future with the Cavs.
Things may not be ideal now, but Cleveland needs to stick with Irving to help them get where they want to go.
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