It started with Kyrie Irving’s comments to Sports Illustrated last week:
“I understand we’re in a very peculiar place,” Irving told Sports Illustrated. “We just have to, you know, make sure that all our pieces are aligned first, and then we go from there. It’s the summertime, a lot of craziness going on in the NBA. Best to just observe and then see what happens, but obviously there are some things that I’m pretty sure our organization wants to do, and we’ll go from there.”
It concluded with a conversation with Cavaliers’ owner Dan Gilbert with Irving requesting to be traded.
Apparently he didn’t like what he saw.
The reasons why mean nothing to me.
Sources say the motivation is for Irving to be in a situation where he can be more of a focal point. If that is the true motivation behind his desire to leave it appears Irving doesn’t want to play second fiddle to LeBron James anymore.
However I don’t believe that for one second.
To me, this is just one more indication that the environment in Cleveland is crumbling and the walls are about to come tumbling down.
At this point it doesn’t even matter where Kyrie Irving ends up. Requesting to leave means nothing if your team chooses not to honor it. They will eventually of course, but based on his contract there doesn’t have to be a rush to honor the request.
Irving is under contract in Cleveland through the 2019-20 season. Unlike his cohort LeBron James who will enter free agency in the summer of 2018, Irving finds himself at the mercy of Dan Gilbert and his rudderless ship in Ohio.
It would be a bad look for the Cavs if they don’t find a way to honor Irving’s request in essence making it a hostage situation.
I’ve speculated (as have the entirety of the sports media in recent weeks) that things are bad in Cleveland. But when a guy is willing to give up the opportunity of signing a “supermax” contract forfeiting approximately $200 million it’s damn near Armageddon.
Seriously, just how bad are things in Cleveland?
What’s going to happen?
Will the 2017-18 NBA season see the dismantling of a team that’s been to three straight NBA Finals, winning one along the way?
Will we see LeBron James, after his “decision” and ultimate return to his hometown team, be traded away?
Just how bad will it get before things get better?
There is no way to answer those questions right now. But I guarantee it’ll be quite a thing to behold. And maybe, just maybe, NBA fans will have someone other than Kevin Durant to hate for a while.