Cleveland Cavaliers star point guard, Kyrie Irving, has dropped one of the most stunning trade bombshells in NBA history. He requested a move away from the Cavaliers. Irving requested the trade last week directly to Cavs owner Dan Gilbert and expressed a desire to break free of the shadow of King James and take a greater role for another team. According to sources: “James was informed of Irving’s request and was blindsided and disappointed, sources said. Other members of the team have learned of Irving’s intentions in recent days as well.”
In addition, the list of teams that Irving had supplied included the New York Knicks – that are overwhelmed by Carmelo Anthony’s desire to be traded. In second come the San Antonio Spurs, who have the guard position occupied by legend Tony Parker and Aussie Patty Mills. Mills re-signed with the Spurs in free agency, inking a four-year $US50 million contract. And San Antonio were reportedly willing to trade five-time All Star big man LaMarcus Aldridge around the time of the draft.
The remaining two potential destinations, are the Miami Heat and the Minnesota Timberwolves. Miami’s starting point guard is Goran Dragic, while Minnesota just signed Jeff Teague in free agency. The timing of this escalation is difficult for Cleveland, who have already watched and tried for stars like Jimmy Butler, Paul George and Chris Paul, whogot traded to other teams, while free agent Gordon Hayward left Utah for rivals Boston. There is a simple choice before the Cavs: they could refuse to trade Irving because of his current deal, deal him for young players and draft picks, or take veteran players in maybe a last pursuit of a fourth straight NBA Finals appearance with LeBron.
The fact of the situation is that Irving has valid contract (three years, $60 million) and he can opt out for free agency in 2019. Meanwhile, James is a free agent after next season, making the Irving situation even more delicate. Last season, the 25 year old, averaged a career-high 25.2 points and 5.8 assists per game. Although he is a four-time All Star, it appears the stats do not favour him playing without LeBron.
The Cavaliers have been linked as a potential home for former MVP point guard Derrick Rose, who is a free agent after spending last season in New York. Part of the focus in the wake of the Kyrie bombshell is connected to the retention of GM David Griffin. Irving inked a five-year contract extension under Griffin in 2014, despite the team coming off four straight losing seasons. James was known to be upset that Griffin was allowed to leave and made it clear in this tweet. Ironically, just after the Irving news broke, the Cavs reportedly locked in their new GM. Earlier, James re-joined the Cavaliers just two weeks after Irving confirmed his last deal, immediately taking his status as a leading player on the Cleveland franchise.
During the last NBA Finals, he spoke about the jolt he got from James’ arrival. Irving then said: “Having just a tremendously great player like that come to your team, and you see yourself being one of those great players eventually and then he ends up joining it and then now you have to almost take a step back and observe. Finding that balance is one of the toughest things to do because you have so much belief and confidence in yourself. Selfishly, I always wanted to just show everyone in the whole entire world exactly who I was every single time.”