*Kyrie Irving is ready to move on from the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Citing league sources, ESPN reports that the guard is desperate for a bigger role and has asked the Cavs for a trade. Irving’s agent Jeff Wechsler would neither confirm nor deny the report.
According to ESPN, the request came last week and was made to Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert. Irving reportedly said that he wants to go play in a situation where he can be a more focal point and no longer wants to play alongside LeBron James.
“Kyrie and I had a meeting with Cavs leadership where we discussed many different scenarios in reference to Kyrie and his future with the team,” Wechsler told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. “The basis of those discussions and what went on in those discussions are between the Cavs and us. We are respectfully going to keep those private.”
James was said to be blindsided and disappointed when told of Irving’s request, ESPN reports. Other members of the team have learned of Irving’s intentions in recent days as well.
Irving has been with the Cavaliers since they made him the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 draft. After three losing seasons, the team’s fortunes changed with the return of James. The Big Three of James, Irving and Kevin Love have reached the past three NBA Finals, winning the title in 2016.
By asking for a trade, Irving would be willingly giving up the chance to qualify and sign a “supermax” contract with the Cavs in 2019. This provision, installed in the just started collective bargaining agreement, was meant to deter star players from leaving their teams as they came up on their third contract.