When the Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA championship in 2016, it looked like the duo of LeBron James and Kyrie Irving would be together for years to come.
But just one year later, Irving demanded and was granted a trade out of The Land for somewhat mysterious or unknown reasons.
Now, a source has revealed a possible reason why Irving forced his way off a team that likely would’ve been a championship contender for several more years had he stayed.
“It’s not uncommon at all for general managers to talk to their top players about possible trades and free agents,” the source told Heavy.com. “That’s just smart. You’re paying your guy big money, and you want him to be on board. Plus, your guy might have another view of a situation or a player that you haven’t considered. But with Kyrie, they talked this out beforehand. He wanted a situation like LeBron has — or like he thinks LeBron has.”
Irving was first drafted by the Cavs with the top pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. After three years of being a good, promising player, James returned to Cleveland, and the team instantly reached the NBA Finals, losing in six games after Irving missed most of the series with a knee injury.
But the following year, the team broke through and got the city of Cleveland its first world title in any sport in about half a century. That championship series was Irving’s coming-out party, as he hit the decisive 3-pointer with about a minute left in Game 7 while averaging 27.1 points a game for the series.
In 2017, the Cavs returned to the Finals yet again and looked to have a real shot versus the Kevin Durant-led Golden State Warriors, but they instead lost in a gentleman’s sweep.
Once Irving left, it triggered the demise of the team, as James departed in the summer of 2018.
The North Jersey native joined Durant in Brooklyn for the 2019-20 season (Durant didn’t play that year after tearing his Achilles), but the new partnership hasn’t been fruitful yet, as the Brooklyn Nets have failed to reach the Eastern Conference Finals.