Throughout the last few weeks following Kyrie Irving’s trade request, many things have been said about the entire situation. What actually happened between LeBron James and Irving to actually cause this to happen? Did something happen between other teammates and Uncle Drew? When did the breakup actually begin? We can go on and on about potential questions (and answers) about it, but unless your name is Kyrie Irving, you don’t truly know his feelings and what led to him basically demanding a trade away from the wine and gold.
As a guest on The BBall Breakdown Podcast on Tuesday, ESPN’s Dave McMenamin stated that he talked to former Cavs guard James Jones, who is now the Phoenix Suns’ Vice President of Basketball Operations, and Champ opened up about what happened—or didn’t happen—during the postseason just a few short months ago.
“I’m not sure. Phoenix, of course, hired James Jones this offseason. He’s been inside that locker room. He saw Kyrie Irving in the playoffs this year—in between the first round when they beat Indiana and the second round when they played Toronto—go consecutive days without speaking to a teammate at practice. On that stage. It’s one thing for people to go through your ups and downs during the regular season. But when you get to the playoffs, the main thing is the main thing, and we’re brothers, and we’re pulling together to get this thing done. Even at that level, there were things that made him sullen or reclusive from his teammates.”
During the most crucial time of the season, a third of the Cavs’ Big Three didn’t speak to teammates. Not just James, but the other 14 players on the roster as well. That’s says a lot without even saying a single word. Champ was known as one of the best teammates on the Cavs and if anyone would know about the situation outside of James and Irving, it would be Jones.
Another interesting aspect of this is that former Cavs general manager David Griffin and the team parting ways at the end of July. Although owner Dan Gilbert said it was mutual and it had nothing to do with money, many others thought it might have had something to do with Griffin wanting to trade away players that Gilbert didn’t, or the other way around. If Griffin knew about No. 2 not speaking to teammates, there’s quite a good chance that he would have traded Irving either at the end of the season or near NBA Draft time.
Many people are angry with Griffin’s departure and the entire situation, but it seems as though there’s a possibility that the two could be linked to one another. While on ESPN’s The Jump last week, Cleveland’s former general manager stated that he understands the trade request and that it took plenty of courage to do so.
As time goes on, more and more information will become available either through different sources or the players themselves that will reveal exactly what happened to cause the breakup between Irving and the Cavs that will eventually happen, but this is just another piece of the puzzle, a puzzle that will be quite interesting once it is completed.
Of course, the completion date might not be for awhile.
Woj was on Mike and Mike this morning and basically said don't expect it any time soon. He thinks Kyrie is on the Cavs to start the season.
— Andrew Schnitkey (@RockWFNY) August 11, 2017