Cavs point guard Kyrie Irving asked the team to trade him during a meeting last week, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.
Irving’s agent told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that they met with the team about Irving’s future, but did not disclose specifics. Wojnarowski reports one of the teams he raised as a potential destination was the Spurs. According to ESPN’s Chris Haynes, the Knicks, Heat and Timberwolves were the other teams Irving’s camp listed.
Ian Begley of ESPN reports that the Knicks are not willing to trade Kristaps Porzingis for Irving, but would part ways with future first-round draft picks and Carmelo Anthony.
Irving, 25, is a four-time All-Star and a critical piece of the Cavs team that has gone to three straight Finals, alongside LeBron James and Kevin Love. Windhorst reports James was “blindsided and disappointed” and that other members of the team have learned of Irving’s request.
In an interview with SI this week, Irving said the Cavs were in a “peculiar place” at the moment. Windhorst reports Irving has “vacillated at times” over the past few seasons about playing as a secondary star alongside James.
The Cavaliers have had a tumultuous off-season, with the departure of general manager David Griffin following tumultuous contract negotiations, the franchise’s struggles to fill that position, and a loaded cap sheet precluding Cleveland from making major roster changes. Cleveland pursued Chauncey Billups for the general manager position, but were rebuffed.
The Cavs have signed veterans Jose Calderon and Jeff Green and have recently been tied to point guard Derrick Rose, but have done little to shake up their core roster. The Cavs were reportedly involved in trade talks for both Jimmy Butler and Paul George before both were traded elsewhere.
The subtext is rumors surrounding James’s potential departure next summer, with rumors continuing to suggest he could leave Cleveland a second time if the franchise were in an unsatisfactory state.
Irving averaged 25.2 points per game and 5.8 assists last season, shooting 47.3% from the field and 40.1% from three. He is considered one of the NBA’s premier perimeter scorers. His contract runs through the 2019–20 season, with the final year being a player option (meaning he can be a free agent in 2019).