Kyrie Irving is ready to end his run with the Cleveland Cavaliers, as league sources told ESPN that the guard has asked the team to trade him.
The request came last week and was made to Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert. Irving has expressed that he wants to go play in a situation where he can be a more focal point and no longer wants to play alongside LeBron James, sources said.
Irving’s agent Jeff Wechsler would not confirm or deny whether Irving asked for a trade.
“Kyrie and I had a meeting with Cavs leadership where we discussed many different scenarios in reference to Kyrie and his future with the team,” Wechsler told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. “The basis of those discussions and what went on in those discussions are between the Cavs and us. We are respectfully going to keep those private.”
This news comes after the Cavaliers expressed interest in free agent guard Derrick Rose, who spent last season with the Knicks. When it comes to destinations for where Kyrie wants to land, four teams came up in the meeting with the Cavaliers front office.
ESPN Sources: On Kyrie Irving front, Cavs were given four preferred landing spots: New York, Miami, San Antonio, Minnesota.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) July 21, 2017
It seems surprising for this news to come out as the Cavaliers are getting ready for training camp and looking to make their fourth straight finals. But it may not be as surprising as you think.
Why would Kyrie want to leave Cleveland?
It seems like crazy talk to think that Kyrie Irving would want to leave a team that is coming off of three straight Finals appearances, as well as having the best player in the world on the roster in LeBron James. With information being limited, we can only speculate but there are a few reasons why he would want to abandon ship.
LeBron is becoming a free agent
With LeBron James becoming a free agent after the 2017-2018 season, there have been rumors of him taking his talents elsewhere once again. James is a player that would attract the attention of every team in the NBA, but what would the Cavaliers be if Kyrie Irving was the leader of that team? The talk among the Cavaliers player can only be speculated, but it must be known internally that LeBron is very serious about leaving The Land.
Younger players to team up with
Kyrie also could be wanting to leave because he wants to join a younger, up and coming star. If you take a look at the teams he is considering, that is what each of those teams has as their centerpieces:
Minnesota has Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, as well as a young star in Jimmy Butler whom they traded for on the 2017 NBA Draft Night.
San Antonio arguably has one of the best players in the NBA as their star in Kawhi Leonard and he is only 26 compared to James’ age of 32.
Miami has arguably one of the best young big men in the league in Hassan Whiteside, as well as a dynamic young guard in Goran Dragic. They are a team that has drafted very well over the past few seasons and is definitely on the rise in the East. Don’t forget about Dion Waiters, an ex-teammate of Irving’s, had his best season of his career with the Heat last year.
Last but not least, the New York Knicks have Kristaps Porzingis. Porzingis is an interesting player that Irving could potentially team up with because he is doing a lot of the same things that Kevin Love does. Although not as big, he only has two NBA seasons under his belt and has taken the league by storm. Growing up in northern New Jersey, New York is a destination where Irving could spend the rest of his career in front of his home fans.
He is tired of being stuck under the control of LeBron James
This is just speculation but Kyrie could be tired of being stuck under LeBron’s wing. If you think about those four teams he is considering, his leadership role would increase dramatically. Only in San Antonio would he 100% be the second star on the team behind Kawhi Leonard. Even then, he would be able to have much more of a voice with the organization and the locker room because of the contained and quiet player that Kawhi is known to be. With New York, he would be the leader of the franchise and have plenty of young players to mentor. In Minnesota, he would be able to help mentor guys like Karl-Anthony Towns and Wiggins and show them the winning ways that he learned in Cleveland. With the Heat, he would have the ability to mentor young players as well.
This is obviously all just surmised because it is crazy to think that a guy who has won three titles in his career would be hard to play with. Kyrie and LeBron are obviously two players that have seemed to get along in the past and have won a lot of games together, and could easily keep winning more if a trade does not even happen. Yes, that can happen as Kyrie has two years (plus an option year) left on his contract.
Even though Kyrie is a young player himself, he knows what it takes to win. It just appears now that Kyrie wants to take the next step of progression of his career and that’s helping other young players win and learn how to win.