Damian Lillard: Who Wouldn’t Want to go to the Finals Every Year?

One #HGAlum is taking a shot at another. In the midst of all the NBA trade drama surrounding Kyrie Irving and the Cleveland Cavaliers, Damian Lillard weighed in with his two cents in an interview with Sports Illustrated. “Who wouldn’t want to go to the Finals every year?” Lillard spoke. “I think they’ve been to the finals the last three years. I would love to do that.”

The comment came following the reports that Irving told the Cavs’ front office he wanted to be “the guy” on an NBA team. According to the SI interview, he cited Lillard and Wizards point guard John Wall, as examples. When asked if he would ever ask for a trade while playing alongside Lebron James, Lillard slyly eluded answering by “I don’t know I have never played with Lebron.”  He did go on to point out that from an outsider’s perspective, Lebron seems to make things so easy for those around him.

Lillard certainly has a point. Every NBA player’s goal (for the most part) is to win an NBA Championship. It’s why we often see aging players take veteran minimums on title contenders. After all the money is made, a ring outweighs a contract to a player with limited years left. However, it is unfair to judge Kyrie from the outside because we simply do not know  what it’s like as Lebron’s sidekick.

Kyrie IrvingSure, everyone wants to go to the Finals, but is it worth a player in his prime, who already has a ring, to undergo the scrutiny of Lebron James on a daily basis? This is not a knock on LBJ, MJ was nasty too. Players with that competitive edge tend to be. Fact is, Lebron is getting older and his hunger for another championship is still growing. He’s holding those around him accountable, and has no problem doing it publicly. This is it for him, his window is minimizing, and he’s taking control. And let’s not get started with the rumors of a departure for LA after next season.

It’s easy to sit on the outside as a player and say he’s crazy for giving up his current situation, but maybe there’s a bigger picture. Maybe it’s more than just wanting to be the guy. I mean, Lebron apparently wants to fight Kyrie now; maybe that relationship reached its tipping point. Lebron has said he has no ill-feeling toward Kyrie, but who can we believe at this point. Whatever the case may be, there seems to be something a littler bigger than spotlight. Trips to the Finals or not, you can’t blame Kyrie for looking out for himself. After all, isn’t that what Lebron has done going from Cleveland to Miami and back to Cleveland?

 

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