Kyrie Irving sent shockwaves through the NBA when he requested a trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers back in mid-June. Many fans wondered why a player would seek greener pastures after the Cavs made their third straight appearance in the NBA Finals. However, today we may have learned one of the motivating factors why Uncle Drew wanted to play elsewhere.
The following comes from Jackie McMullan of ESPN:
“What they didn’t know was Cleveland had explored trading Irving in June, long before he asked out, a fact conveniently omitted when word of his demand leaked. Irving made the decision to remain silent while the details of his request were, in his word,” “distorted.”
“I didn’t feel the need to say anything because I knew the truth, and so did they,” he says. “So it didn’t matter what others said.”
Still, for a split second, Irving winces, as though someone has pricked him with a pin.
“They didn’t want me there,” he says.
It’s pretty easy to see why Irving was upset when he found out this news. Irving hit the game-winning shot in the 2015-2016 NBA Finals in Game 7 against the Golden State Warriors. Without his heroics, outplaying Steph Curry throughout the series, Cleveland never wins that championship. Besides, who the hell would want to play second fiddle to LeBaby James. McMullan gave the details of the trade that almost sent Irving to Phoenix.
“In mid-June, shortly before Griffin left, team and league sources confirm, the Cavs explored a three-way deal with Phoenix and Indiana that would have shipped Irving and Channing Frye to the Suns and brought Eric Bledsoe and Paul George to Cleveland. The Suns resisted, unwilling to part with their No. 4 pick, which they planned to use to draft Josh Jackson.
None of the teams made a formal offer, but news of this potential transaction stung Irving, who, sources close to him say, became convinced that LeBron’s camp, which also represents Bledsoe, orchestrated the trade talks.
Team and league sources refute that, saying that it was Griffin who initiated the trade talks with Phoenix. Griffin, who is close with Irving, sensed both his unhappiness and his restlessness and was preparing for the possibility that Irving would request a trade. But once Griffin was no longer employed by the team, the conversations stalled. Cleveland then engaged in talks with Indiana and Denver, according to league sources.”
Let’s face it; LeBron James obviously played a part in this. James has long coveted the chance to play with Paul George. He also would have brought Eric Bledsoe over in the deal. Bledsoe is a client of Rich Paul’s agency Klutch Sports where James has an ownership stake in. Regardless of what moves the Cavs made this offseason, they were never going to get a commitment from James to stay past this year.
So far, Irving has made the right choice in requesting a trade as the Celtics hold the number one seed in the East. Irving, 25, is surrondedby a bevy of young talent (Jayson Tatum, Jaylon Brown, etc.) and the best coach in the NBA Brad Stevens.