The 2017-18 Cleveland Cavaliers will either feature a core responsible for three straight NBA Finals berths or be without their second-best player.
Both possibilities are on the table thanks to the trade request voiced by Kyrie Irving, per ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. Some may think a blockbuster deal is the inevitable end to this story, but Cleveland doesn’t yet seem resigned to that fate.
“What Kyrie does is a perfect fit for us,” a team source told Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher. “That’s why we want to smooth this out if we can.”
As far as the certainties are concerned, Cleveland will once again employ basketball cyborg and four-time MVP LeBron James. JR Smith, Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson are also around to take up their positions alongside him.
What does all of that mean for the Cavaliers—and the clubs attempting to break their stranglehold on the Eastern Conference? These realistic expectations and projections should help paint as clear a picture as one can of this still-murky situation.