Kyrie had suspicions about the Cavs’ motivations and then requested a trade.
ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan has a profile of Kyrie Irving that sheds new light on his departure from Cleveland. Specifically, MacMullan’s story includes a detail about the Cavaliers’ initial attempts to trade Irving, before he asked out.
The Cavs had talked about a three-team deal with the Pacers and Suns that would have landed Paul George and Eric Bledsoe in Cleveland, MacMullan writes, confirming a report from August by Jason Lloyd of The Athletic. The new revelation from MacMullan’s piece is that Kyrie had suspicions about the Cavs’ motivations.
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.
Imagine that. A conspiracy theory from Kyrie Irving.
About a month after the reported negotiations with the Suns and Pacers, Irving formally requested a trade out of Cleveland. The Cavs continued to have discussions with Phoenix about a deal centered around Kyrie and Bledsoe before eventually reaching an agreement with the Celtics. Bledsoe ended up requesting a trade himself and was moved to the Bucks in early November, and the Pacers shipped George to the Thunder.