Apparently, Kyrie wants an opportunity to lead a team, something he will never have until he escapes the shadow of LeBron James. This attitude is a fresh perspective in the NBA these days, especially after Kevin Durant set a precedent for players to embrace less responsibility in their quest for a Championship. Kyrie is reportedly interested in a move to the Spurs, Heat, T-Wolves, and Knicks which all offer him slightly different perks.
With the Spurs, Kyrie would be playing under Gregg Popovich who is arguably the most respected coach in the game today. While the Spurs definitely offer him the quickest route to genuine title contention, it doesn’t exactly fit him in other ways. With Kawhi Leonard already an established presence, it is hard to seeing Kyrie become the true leader of that team, so he would be finding himself in a situation largely similar to what he’s already in.
The Heat are a respected organization with management that has a proven record of success, and without any established stars, Kyrie would likely instantly become the face of the team. As a solid but unspectacular team, the Heat would be pushed near the top of the weak Eastern Conference as one of the few teams with a decent shot at reaching the finals, allowing him to also have a decent shot at leading his team to at least compete.
The T-Wolves may have had the best offseason of any team in the NBA this year, completely overhauling their roster by adding Jimmy Butler and a bevy of complimentary pieces such as Jamal Crawford and Taj Gibson. Kyrie alongside Jimmy Butler and Karl-Anthony Towns is definitely a menacing starting lineup that would present a serious threat to any team, it would likely require the Wolves to trade Andrew Wiggins, who was once Cleveland’s own young centerpiece. With reports that the Wolves are in talks to extend Wiggins’ contract, this doesn’t seem very likely, but it would certainly shake up the basketball world.
Finally, the New York Knicks were the final name to be included on Kyrie’s list, and they were certainly the biggest surprise to be included. The Knicks are years away from genuinely contending, but they could definitely speed that clock up by adding Kyrie to the Kristaps Porzingis show. The Knicks would very likely have to include their most recent lottery pick, Frank Ntilikina, however that should be an easy decision for them as at 18, Frank has a log way to go before he can match Kyrie. Kyrie would assume the leadership role he wants, and potentially have Kristaps and maybe even Melo alongside him, which could allow the Knicks to genuinely contend at the top of the Eastern conference. For a kid who grew up in New Jersey, returning home to the Big Apple could be appealing to Kyrie.
Wherever Kyrie ends up, his move will without a doubt alter the NBA landscape, perhaps even as much as Kevin Durant’s shocking move last summer. Of the options he wants, the Knicks and Heat seem to offer the most complete package of allowing Kyrie to assume a leadership role while also allowing him to remain in the weak Eastern Conference, which might even be up for grabs if the Cavs already tenuous grip is weakened any further this summer.