Ever since the shocking news broke that Kyrie Irving wanted to part ways with the Cavaliers, the narrative coming out of Cleveland is that the less-than-happy star guard simply one day decided to request a trade. It was a shocking development -- especially to everyone outside of the organization.
However, according to a tidbit from Jackie MacMullan's new article about Irving, it was actually the Cavs who were the first to look into trading Irving. Via ESPN:
For many, the swap from the Cavaliers to the Celtics last August was vexing. Irving was a champion on a contending franchise with a transcendent star, LeBron James. Who walks away from that?
What they didn't know was Cleveland had explored trading Kyrie in June, long before he asked out, a fact conveniently omitted when word of his demand leaked. Irving made the decision to remain silent while the details of his request were, in his word, "distorted."
"I didn't feel the need to say anything because I knew the truth, and so did they," he says. "So it didn't matter what others said."
Still, for a split second, Irving winces, as though someone has pricked him with a pin.
"They didn't want me there," he says.
Teams need to do their due diligence and explore every opportunity to make their team better, but it's still surprising that the Cavs were seeking out a trade involving Irving. What's more interesting is that Irving's convinced LeBron James' camp was pulling the strings on those talks.
In mid-June, shortly before Griffin left, team and league sources confirm, the Cavs explored a three-way deal with Phoenix and Indiana that would have shipped Irving and Frye to the Suns and brought Eric Bledsoe and Paul George to Cleveland. The Suns resisted, unwilling to part with their No. 4 pick, which they planned to use to draft Josh Jackson.
No formal offer was made by any of the teams, but news of this potential transaction stung Irving, who, sources close to him say, became convinced that LeBron's camp, which also represents Bledsoe, orchestrated the trade talks.
Team and league sources refute that, saying that it was Griffin who initiated the trade talks with Phoenix. Griffin, who is close with Irving, sensed both his unhappiness and his restlessness and was preparing for the possibility that Irving would request a trade. But once Griffin was no longer employed by the team, the conversations stalled. Cleveland then engaged in talks with Indiana and Denver, according to league sources.
We'll likely never know the actual truth, but it certainly seems likely that LeBron was involved or at least influencing the idea in some way -- especially considering that his longtime friend, Rich Paul, represents Bledsoe. But that Irving believes this would help explain why he said he never talked to LeBron about his decision to formally request out of Cleveland.