Ask different players and people around the league and you’ll get different takes on Kyrie Irving wanting out of Cleveland. Some say it’s the natural progression for Irving, while others say it’s a mistake to not want to play alongside LeBron James.
Count NBA legend Scott Pippen among the former group. On ESPN’s The Jump, Pippen said Irving is making the right choice now that he can “control his own destiny”:
"I am a very strong supporter of what he's doing because I've watched what has happened to him in his career and how things went for him in Cleveland, and I think he's at a superstar level now that he can control his own destiny. A lot of players in our game have that opportunity and they don't take advantage of it. I think it's the perfect timing. Cleveland didn't win a championship, they were right there, but there's been a lot of things going on within that organization."
Pippen also had this to say about James:
“LeBron doesn't give those guys the security that they need, that the superstar is gonna be there and he's gonna support us and I see Kyrie looking at the opportunity to run before LeBron runs, because there's a lot of chatter out there that LeBron's coming to play with the Lakers.”
Aside from frustration in Irving wanting out, what Pippen is hitting at understandable reasons for Irving wanting out. The possibility of James leaving, the Cavs’ internal dysfunction and Irving taking control of his own career makes sense. It’s been well reported, too, that Irving has his issues with the Cavs’ front office and it’s also been reported that Irving doesn’t want to play with James anymore. It bucks current NBA trends, sure, but it makes sense.
And as someone who is best known for being a second fiddle to Michael Jordan, Pippen can offer insight into this situation in a way few can.