What’s Kyrie Irving’s problem with LeBron James?
Kyrie Irving reportedly requested a trade from the Cavaliers because he no longer wants to play with LeBron James.
But what does that actually mean?Ramona Shelburne, Dave McMenamin and Brian Windhorst of ESPN:
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:
Irving wants to take his show away from James so he can grow his career (his on-court acclaim and notoriety, his brand, his voice) outside of James’ shadow.
Numerous people who’ve talked to Irving over the past month have said to cleveland.com that he told them he wanted to leave to grow his career, and it was the message Irving sent to Cavs owner Dan Gilbert when he asked to be traded last week.
These can all simultaneously be true. There needn’t be one singular reason Irving wants a trade.
It can also be true that former general manager David Griffin might have soothed Irving’s discontent. It can also be true that the Warriors’ dominance influenced Irving, as he might have been more willing to remain in a secondary role if it were more likely to result in a championship.
But so much of this comes back to LeBron, a massive presence around whom everything in Cleveland revolves.
Being the top player on a team means so many things – dictating on-court action, having the supporting cast built around you, influencing team staff, building a larger sponsorship presence. Irving can’t get any of that while playing with LeBron.
Irving led the Cavs in shots and usage percentage last season, but that happened only because LeBron allowed it. LeBron obviously retook control in the playoffs. There’s no question whose team this is.
There is also no indication Irving is fighting that. He’s not trying to usurp LeBron’s power, and Irving has molded his game the last few years to fit with LeBron.
But now Irving his exercising his own power so he can get even more the only place possible – somewhere away from LeBron.