Was Kyrie Irving tell Jimmy Butler to avoid the Cleveland Cavaliers when trade rumors surfaced before the 2017 NBA Draft?
Time to play connect the dots.
Kyrie Irving wants traded. He listed the Minesota Timberwolves, of all teams, as one of his preferred destinations.
The Wolves are young, up and comers, who landed a star player in Jimmy Butler.
Remember him? The Cavs were linked to the Chicago Bulls wing leading up to the NBA Draft.
OK, I know it can be hard, but keep thinking back. Remember that rumor where someone within the Cavs was telling Butler to stay out of Cleveland because the situation was growing toxic following David Griffin’s contract expiration.
If Irving was the one telling Butler this, it just makes sense, according to AmicoHoops.net writer Ashish Mathur.
"The two All-Stars almost got their wish of joining forces in early June when reports came out that the Cavs were close to acquiring Butler from the Bulls…It’s safe to assume now that Irving was the player who was in Butler’s ear about not coming to the Cavs."
Irving’s trade request couldn’t be more confusing to Cavs fans, who are already freaking out over the possibility of LeBron James leaving after the 2017-2018 season.
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Some may be surprised by Irving’s disinterest in playing alongside LeBron James, but if you’ve followed the Factory of Sadness over the years, you know Irving wasn’t necessarily thrilled about James’ return home.
If you’ll recall the summer of 2014, Irving signed his max extension right away, days before Dan Gilbert ever thought he’d have to get on that plane and apologize to James in Miami.
ESPN scribe Brian Windhorst is one of the best reporters in the business. Back during the 2016 season, which ended with the Cavs winning the title, Windhorst said Irving was “clearly not in love” playing with LeBron around the time Cleveland fired coach David Blatt.
The point is Irving fully expected this to be his team, and his team alone.
Cleveland’s in a tough spot because they’re not likely to get equal value for Irving, espcially after a lot of moving parts have already settled this offseason.
ESPN writer Ramona Shelburne tweeted out a memory of Kobe Bryant asking for a trade from the Lakers. The Lakers kept Bryant, and went to three more Finals.
Ultimately, I think Kyrie spends this season in Cleveland, but next summer? Get ready. The ability to move his contract will give the Cavs felxibility to make a move that will hopefully convince James to retire a Cavalier.