The NBA world was shocked when it was revealed that Cleveland Cavaliers star guard Kyrie Irving informed the team that he would like to be traded. With a big three of LeBron James, Kevin Love, and Irving, as well as a relatively weak Eastern Conference, it appeared that the Cavs were set to make it to the NBA Finals for the foreseeable future.
However, things apparently weren’t as pleasant inside the Cavs locker room as they looked from the outside. The 25-year-old Irving had grown tired of living in James’ massive shadow, yearning for a chance to step back into the spotlight that he once held before James returned home to Cleveland.
According to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, who appeared on the BBall Breakdown Podcast, ex-Cavalier James Jones told him the situation between Irving and his Cavs teammates was even worse than anyone realized:
“He saw Kyrie Irving in the playoffs this year — in between the first round when they beat Indiana and the second round when they played Toronto — go consecutive days without speaking to a teammate at practice,” McMenamin said. “On that stage.”
The fact that Irving was unwilling to talk to teammates at such a crucial time in the playoffs suggests the rift was even more massive than anyone on the outside knew.
As of this writing, Irving is still under contract with the Cavs for at least two more seasons. While he has requested to be traded to the Miami Heat, San Antonio Spurs, New York Knicks, or Minnesota Timberwolves, the fact that Irving hasn’t been moved yet suggests that no team has met the Cavaliers’ asking price.
With two more years under contract, Cleveland isn’t forced to send Irving to his preferred destination, and can instead focus on getting the best return possible.