Well, that escalated quickly. Here’s a brief recap of the LeBron James vs Kyrie Irving timeline that has led the Cleveland Cavaliers – who have been to the NBA Finals three years in a row – to turn into a flaming dumpster fire:
July 7 – Kyrie Irving privately tells the Cavs he wants to be traded
July 21 – Brian Windhorst breaks the Kyrie-wants-out story
July 22 – Troll King LeBron dropped this Kyrie diss (?) on Instagram
July 23 – Stephen A. Smith: LeBron leaked the Kyrie-wants-a-trade story
July 24 – Stephen A Smith: LeBron would beat Kyrie’s ass if the met today
And then there’s this from Zach Lowe of ESPN: “The Cavaliers are projecting confidence they can snare a king’s ransom for Kyrie Irving, and more than that, they are acting — for now — as if a trade is almost inevitable, and that there is little chance of salvaging their relationship with him, according to several sources familiar with the situation.”
This isn’t the first time in the last year an NBA superstar has been disgusted with his team and wanted out. DeMarcus Cousins in Sacramento. Jimmy Butler in Chicago. Paul George in Indiana. Carmelo Anthony in New York.
They all pretty much go according to the same formula: When the news pops, there’s a tsunami of coverage, tons of speculation about where the star could be going … and then there’s silence. The deal usually happens much later.
But I believe this would be the first time a LeBron James teammate has demanded a trade. I can’t find a player in NBA history to reach the Finals three years in a row and suddenly want out.
Options are unlimited for an Irving trade for two reasons: 1) He doesn’t have a no-trade clause; 2) The Cavs aren’t obligated to deal him anywhere, 3) Just like Butler, Kyrie Irving has two years left on his deal, so many teams will be in the mix to trade for Irving.
Cleveland would be wise to find a trade partner willing to part with a high draft pick, and not take on bad contracts (since they have so many already). NBA drama in late July! Gotta love it.