Even though the Cleveland Cavaliers have been to the NBA Finals the past three seasons, they continue to be an organization in disarray.
They fired former coach Dave Blatt mid-season during their second finals run and recently let go of General Manager David Griffin after a cantankerous relationship with owner Dan Gilbert.
There has also been discord among the players–Kevin Love was unhappy about his role in the offense as the third wheel–and now the foundation of the team may have just cracked.
All-star Point Guard Kyrie Irving has requested a trade, and LeBron James allegedly leaked his trade request to the media.
From the Sporting News:
Did LeBron James leak Kyrie Irving’s trade request? Irving thinks so, according to ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith.
“According to my sources, they believe LeBron James had everything to do with news getting out that Kyrie Irving wants to be traded,” Smith said. “Because Kyrie Irving and his representation and others met with the Cavaliers a couple weeks ago, and not a word got out until recently.
“They believe that LeBron James got word of it and was put off by it and leaked it. I’m not going to accuse LeBron of such a thing. I don’t know that to be true at all. But I know that’s what Kyrie Irving believes.”
James was reportedly blindsided by the news of Irving’s request, but it remains to be seen whether his emotions would drive him to leak information about Irving’s meeting with Cleveland’s front office. According to Smith, it may not matter what actually happened. If Irving believes James took action, it might do irreparable damage to their relationship.
It’s a bold claim that would be a huge violation on James’s part. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof, but LeBron’s actions cast more suspicion.
The saga that has engulfed the Cleveland Cavaliers over the past several days continued to expand Tuesday, with LeBron James issuing a tweet expressing his unhappiness with how he has been portrayed in the reporting of teammate Kyrie Irving’s request to be traded.
LeBron James has told the Cavaliers he is focused on his offseason workout regimen and is planning to report to training camp with the intention of leading his teammates to a fourth consecutive Finals no matter who those teammates are, sources told ESPN.
On Monday, Smith said on his radio show that sources in James’ camp told him James would be tempted to “beat [Kyrie’s] a**,” regarding Irving’s trade request and the report that Irving’s camp feels James was behind the release of the information.
That prompted James to take to Twitter on Tuesday, writing:
NotFacts people! ?Boooo!! Get another source. ??♂️. #EnjoyingMySummer #YouDoTheSame ??? https://t.co/XvfRWKWdur
Smith emphatically stood by his previous reporting about James and Irving on his radio show Tuesday afternoon on 98.7 FM ESPN New York.
The back-and-forth continued a trying weekend for the Cavaliers, who face the challenge of trading Irving in a market that knows he wants out.
Irving’s trade request came earlier this month and was made to Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert. Irving has said he wants to play in a situation where he can be more of a focal point and that he no longer wants to play alongside James, sources told ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.
That LeBron felt the need to take to twitter and defend himself is eye-opening.
Typically a story like this wouldn’t garner much attention from him, but he seems overly enthusiastic about making sure his hands are perceived as clean in the matter.
Nobody looks good here.
LeBron has deservedly developed the reputation as a de facto general manager who gets to mold the roster as he sees fit, so it’s no surprise Irving would want to escape LeBron’s meddlesome clutches and build a separate legacy.
However, Irving has a reputation as a one-dimensional scorer who doesn’t play defense and doesn’t make his teammates better; his career record without LeBron is overwhelmingly below .500.
The fact Irving is in such a hurry to break up with a championship team so he can be “the man” makes one wonder about his priorities and desire to win.
Nevertheless, if LeBron leaked Irving’s trade request out of spite, it would be an indefensibly ugly act.