Lebron James and Kyrie Irving are Cleveland Sports icons that helped break a 52-year old championship drought the city faced until 2016. The two superstars led the Cleveland Cavaliers to victory over a 73-win Golden State Warriors team, which is still an NBA record.
The Warriors went on to acquire Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant, and defeat the Cavaliers in the 2017 NBA Finals, as well as the 2018 NBA Finals.
Irving was traded to the Boston Celtics in the summer of 2017, for allegedly requesting that he be the focal point of his own team. James left the Cavaliers for a second time in his career to join the Los Angeles Lakers the following summer, leaving Cleveland in a familiar rebuild mode. Irving has since left the Boston Celtics for the Brooklyn Nets, and James won another NBA championship in 2020 with the Lakers in a season interrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The 2021-22 NBA season has started with both stars finding themselves in peculiar positions. Irving, who had joined the Nets with the aforementioned Kevin Durant, suffered an injury in the previous season which derailed Brooklyn's championship aspirations. The Nets lost to the eventual champion Milwaukee Bucks. Now as the 2021-22 season is well underway, Irving has not played a single game due to not being in compliance with New York City's Covid-19 mandate.
James and the Los Angeles Lakers have not quite been the same since winning their 2020 NBA championship. They were eliminated in the first round of the 2021 NBA playoffs by the Phoenix Suns, who went on to win the Western Conference Finals. Now the Lakers have to deal with the reemergence of the Golden State Warriors, who have the NBA's best record as of November 30, 2021, and are not even 100% healthy. There's a dynasty brewing in California, and it's not in Los Angeles. The only thing left for Lebron to accomplish in LA is breaking the NBA’s scoring record, which he is scheduled to do at some point in the 2022-23 season should he stay as productive and healthy as he’s been.
But as Lebron has surpassed the late Los Angeles Laker great Kobe Bryant on the all-time scoring list, and approaches another Laker great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, one thing is painfully clear; Unless Lebron is able to run off another championship or two he will never be considered the GREATEST LAKER. Anything short of achieving more rings will be a burden on the GREATEST PLAYER OF ALL TIME debate between him and Michael Jordan. It is quite feasible to believe that James has a better chance of conquering the Michael Jordan debate than he does passing the likes of Bryant, Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, and Shaquille O’Neal on the GREATEST LAKER OF ALL TIME list. Which leads one to ask, What does it take to be #1?
Lebron has two years remaining on his current deal with the Los Angeles Lakers, as does Kyrie with the Brooklyn Nets. While Irving has not played so far this season, he does have a chance to play in one game. The 2022 NBA All-Star Game, which will ironically be held in CLEVELAND. This means the pair could possibly be teammates again for one night on the same court they dominated for years. The energy of the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse would all-NBA be so electric it would be hard to ignore. It doesn’t hurt that the Cleveland Cavaliers have done a phenomenal job rebuilding again, and have a bright future with valuable all-NBA level talent on their roster.
For anyone that may feel this is a bit of a reach, consider that the Golden State Warriors won the NBA championship in 2015, and lost in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals to the James and Irving led Cavaliers. This did not stop the organization from adding Durant and subtracting a few good players. The Cavaliers could be faced with having a really good team in 2022-23, only to mortgage pieces of it to bring home the prodigal sons of Cleveland basketball.
While everything remains to be seen, James and Irving reuniting in Cleveland would be epic. If Irving is unable to play for the Brooklyn Nets for the remainder of his contract, and James does not win another ring with the Lakers, there truly is no better move to make. At a minimum, it isn’t hard to imagine Lebron joining the Cavs for a third time, as it would be the charm that cements his legacy the right way.
The Cavaliers have very good young guards that The Guyser loves, but we also loved Harrison Barnes, who was a member of the Warriors during their record-setting season until being traded to the Dallas Mavericks in order to make cap space for Durant. Business is Business, and if there is better business to be done expect it to happen. Especially if that better business brings back the two most prominent figures in franchise history. For James and Irving, the 2022 All-Star Game could be a precursor to a reunion that they both may not realize they need.