Sports Pulse: USA TODAY Sports’ Sam Amick, Jeff Zillgitt and AJ Neuharth-Keusch got together to grade the offseason for several NBA teams.
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Kyrie Irving’s request to be traded from the Cleveland Cavaliers has sparked debate around the NBA for weeks.
Irving’s former general manager David Griffin said that the trade request took “courage.”
Hall of Famer and outspoken NBA analyst Charles Barkley called it “stupid.”
“I don’t understand the Kyrie situation,” Barkley said during an interview on NBA TV. “This generation of players — you want to be on a good team. You want to play with other great players. This notion where you want to be the man, I just think is so stupid. If I got a chance to play with another great player, I want to do that. I mean, the objective is to win.
“When he was on a bad team and he was the man, I guarantee you that wasn’t a lot of fun for him. And now you want to leave the best player in the world. I hear all of this stuff about how LeBron casts a big shadow. He should cast a big shadow. I’m pretty sure everybody that played with Michael Jordan or Larry Bird or Shaq … when you play with Shaq, it’s a big thing. If you get a chance to play with great players, that’s half the battle.”
Cool reception:Miami Heat deny making trade offer for Irving
One of the reasons Irving wants to be traded, Griffin said, is that he wants to see if he can “actually be the front man of a team like that.”
Barkley said that he could get that opportunity without being traded.
“We don’t know what’s going to happen with LeBron after this year,” he said. “If (Irving) just stayed in Cleveland he could be the man in another year if LeBron decides to leave.”
Former players like Ron Harper and Gilbert Arenas have said they don’t believe Irving can win without James. Barkley didn’t go that far, but questioned why he would want to try.
“This new generation, man. It’s not a lot of fun watching the NBA now and the way things are going,” Barkley said. “And, I’m not one of those old, bitter guys. You want to play with great players. You want to share the glory. You want to win. Right now, there’s only two or three or four legitimate teams in the NBA. If you’re not one one of those four or five teams, you’re…