According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, Cleveland Cavaliers star Kyrie Irving asked the team for a trade last week.
The Cavaliers haven’t done much this offseason. In turn, the futures of LeBron James and Kyrie Irving are unclear, but it appears the four-time All-Star would like to play elsewhere.
“Kyrie and I had a meeting with Cavs leadership where we discussed many different scenarios in reference to Kyrie and his future with the team,” said Jeff Wechsler, Irving’s agent, to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. “The basis of those discussions and what went on in those discussions are between the Cavs and us. We are respectfully going to keep those private.”
Not only has Cleveland stayed quiet, but they’ve fallen off the rails since letting of general manager David Griffin. James was shocked by that decision, and the news of his partner-in-crime had the same impact; Windhorst said LeBron was “blindsided and disappointed.”
Irving, 25, is coming off the best season of his career which includes his third-straight trip to the Finals. In 72 games, he put up 25.2 points and 5.8 assists a night with a true shooting percentage of 58.0. Moreover, he cemented himself as a premier scorer and one of the NBA’s best point guard (although, the Internet can’t seem to agree on where he ranks).
Irving has three more years left on his contract worth about $60 million, with the final year being a player option.
Windhorst’s report says the motive behind Kyrie’s decision is to be a “more focal point.” Apparently, he also doesn’t want to play alongside James any longer. There’s a first time for everything. How Irving decided on that isn’t known, but he and LeBron have developed a special bond since the return to Cleveland and James has done his best to take Irving under his wing.
This report is certainly a shock, but it’s also not hard to digest. Kyrie Irving is an alpha. He has the personality that most superstars have. He wants to run the show, and he’s capable of doing it, but his new team would have to have the right pieces around him.
A big reason James and Irving work so well is that they can take turn facilitating. Kyrie isn’t a pass-first point guard; he’s a shooting guard in a point guard’s body. James loves to orchestrate the offense and alleviates his sidekick of some of those duties.
Now, the fun begins. Everyone sits back and waits to see if the Cavaliers actually go through with a transaction. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but, when it fell, it burned in one. If Kyrie’s dealt, Cleveland becomes less lethal. If that happens, don’t be surprised to see James skip town next summer.
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