This year’s NBA offseason has been full of captivating rumors, but the latest involving Kyrie Irving requesting a trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers just may be the most shocking. According to reports, Irving met with Cleveland brass and informed them that he is tired of playing second fiddle to star forward LeBron James. For some time, the Cavs kept the trade request quiet in an attempt to maintain trade leverage, but recently it was leaked to the media, and it just may have been James himself who let the info out.
While it isn’t clear yet what kind of return the Cavs could get for Irving, who is under contract for two more years, the report that James may have put the story out there isn’t a good look for any parties involved. It was Stephen A. Smith of ESPN who first reported the James angle to the story (h/t to NBC Sports):
According to my sources, they believe LeBron James had everything to do with news getting out that Kyrie Irving wants to be traded, because Kyrie Irving and his representation and others met with the Cavaliers a couple weeks ago, and not a word got out until recently. They believe that LeBron James got word of it and was put off by it and leaked it. I’m not going to accuse LeBron of such a thing. I don’t know that to be true at all. But I know that’s what Kyrie Irving believes.
Given the Cavs status as the current kingpin of the Eastern Conference, it’s surprising that Irving would want out, but he is reportedly interested in joining the Minnesota Timberwolves, New York Knicks, San Antonio Spurs, or Miami Heat. That said, with Irving under contract for two more years, and without a no-trade clause, he has little say in where he is ultimately sent.
From the Lakers perspective, dysfunction in Cleveland could potentially help them land James as a free agent next summer, though we have a long way to go before then.