When news of Kyrie Irving’s trade demands came to light, fan emotions ranged from shock and surprise down to anger and dismay. Wherever one fell on the spectrum, almost all of what he or she felt was rooted in confusion. Why would a player in today’s era of Championship or Bust want to leave a situation that effectively plugs his team into the Conference Finals before a regular season game is even played? Why would such a talented offensive player not want to play alongside of the best passing forwards to ever play in the league? And what about all that “we’ll be back” talk?
Amidst all of the rumors and speculation surrounding Irving, his desires, and the Cavaliers’ current place in the league, so little made any sense at all; most of it made none. At least until now.
From a timeline standpoint, all of the Irving news has been very front-loaded into the offseason. It’s been a very quiet situation over much of the last couple of weeks, outside of a singular quote from (former?) Cavs guard Dahntay Jones and current FS1 reporter Chris Broussard.
From Jones, we have word in an interview with Sirius XM Radio that nothing is beyond repair and the animosity between Irving and LeBron James could be rectified with a “small conversation.”
A day or so later, we have word from Broussard that Irving may have caught wind of pre-draft trade talks and read those tea leaves as James wanting Irving sent packing.
“Kyrie Irving finds out about the deal. […] And he rightly assumed that there’s no way the Cavaliers are doing this unless LeBron gives consent. That’s why he got mad with LeBron. He thought LeBron was in on it.
“LeBron’s take was more, ‘Look, I’m not trying to trade Kyrie Irving. He’s great. But that’s a heck of a deal—Eric Bledsoe and Paul George. So if you do it, hey, that’s a great deal.’ But Kyrie took it as LeBron wanted him out of there.”
You can’t fire someone if they quit, right? Leave it to the NBA to potentially have the biggest story of summer be one that is all rooted in a giant misunderstanding. Players have changed teams, uniforms have been redesigned, GMs have been hired, yet it’s Kyrie Irving and the Cavaliers that have dominated the headlines — and there’s a chance it could all be for naught? Where Drama Happens.
If any Cavaliers teammates are locked in to what is going on inside the head of LeBron James, it’s Dahntay Jones. His words are either being used to make fans believe 1) James is innocent here, and if we’re controlling the narrative, making it sound like it’s Irving who is unwilling to fix things is the best way to ensure James comes out looking just fine, or 2) He’s really on to something and that if the two players got together, James could explain his side and Irving could either buy back in, or turn his back for good. While many fans of the NBA will want to take Broussard’s report with a mountain of salt, it fits in with the Jones quote, as what’s more fixable than some hypothetical trade scenarios?
The silver lining in the Cavs’ getting very little in the way of attractive offers for Irving is that they didn’t feel the need to panic and send the All-Star point guard packing before potentially finding out that all may be OK. With Cavaliers’ training camp set to tip off in five week’s time, if this situation is truly fixable, that’s a decent-sized window. If it’s not, however, it’s going to make for one hell of a Media Day.
This Week in #ActualSportswriting:
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This Week in #ActualNonsportswriting:
- “Can Rotten Tomatoes Crush a Movie at the Box Office” by Sean Fennessey (The Ringer)
- “Instagram’s Kevin Systrom Wants to Clean up the Internet” by Nicholas Thompson (WIRED)
- “Julian Assange: A Man Without a Country” by Raffi Khatchadourain (New Yorker)
- “Down the Breitbart Hole” by Wil S. Hylton (The New York Times)
This Week in Announcements:
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