June 12, 2011
MIAMI - Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks are NBA champions, and they went through LeBron James for that long-awaited first title.Jason Terry scored 27 points, Nowitzki added 21 and the Mavericks topped the Miami Heat 105-95 in Game 6 of the NBA finals on Sunday night. The Mavericks won four of the series' last five games, a turnabout that could not have been sweeter after seeing the Heat celebrate their first title in Dallas after Game 6 of the 2006 finals. James scored 21 for Miami, though was largely quiet after the opening minutes. Chris Bosh had 19, Mario Chalmers 18 and Dwyane Wade 17 for the Heat.
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The only way this Kyrie Irving trade request story makes any sense at all is if he demands to go to Houston. And gets there.
Yes, Houston. Home of James Harden. Potential future home of Carmelo Anthony. The Place Where Passing Goes To Die. The Antidote To Everything Warriors.
I mean, Irving reading the tea leaves and knowing the Cavs are about to enter a very dark period in their history is not the news here. Dan Gilbert no longer caring about running a basketball operation without empty offices has been the catalyst for LeBron James looking forward to life on the West Coast. The Cavs are a sinkhole collapsing so fast that the assumptions of them cakewalking to the 2018 NBA Finals are heading directly for the earth’s core.
But it’s where Irving goes that is fascinating, and Houston is the perfect place because (and we are presuming Daryl Morey can pry Anthony from the joke shop that is the New York Knickerbockers):
1) It would turn Golden State’s version of cap hell into a slight checking overdraft by comparison
2) It would make the Rockets’ offense a high-powered mess of glorious proportions
3) It would subject the Warriors to a direct stylistic showdown – namely, whether rapid, smart-minded ball movement is just a fad to be replacing by 21st century offensive stagflation.
Oh, Harden can pass, and Irving can pass, and Anthony . . . well, okay, Harden and Irving can pass. But they all function almost entirely with the ball, which means that at any given moment 66 percent of the Rockets’ most important players will be unhappy.
Thus, this is what we need, and what we need now. Trading Kyrie Irving is just satisfying his whim. Trading him to a place where we can put competing basketball styles to the test – now that would make the Western Conference playoffs worth caring about again.
And the Eastern Conference? Well, we’ve always wanted a relegation system in American sports, and now we’ve got it. Just fly toward the sun and hold your nose.
What is going on in Cleveland?
Last week, Kyrie Irving requested a trade from the Cavaliers, according to ESPN's Brian Windhorst.
Irving reportedly wants to play for a team where he can have a bigger role, and no longer wants to play with LeBron James.
As Windhorst reported: "James was informed of Irving's request and was blindsided and disappointed."
Earlier this week, Irving made some interesting comments to Sports Illustrated.
"I understand we're in a very peculiar place," Irving said. "We just have to make sure that all our pieces are aligned first and then we go from there. It's the summer time, a lot of craziness going on in the NBA.
"Best to just observe and then see what happens. But obviously there are some things I'm pretty sure our organization wants to do, and we'll go from there.
"Obviously we have a great owner that's willing to spend a little money on guys that he believes in. At this point, we just see what happens throughout the summer."
Irving averaged 29.4 points and 4.4 assists per game during the NBA Finals, while shooting over 47 percent from the field and 42 percent from distance.
The four-time All Star is entering Year 3 of a 5-year contract worth more than $94 million.
He can opt out and become a free agent following the 2018-19 season.
Friendly reminder: The Cavs still have not hired a permanent general manager...
Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders and a Web Producer at NBC Sports Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller