Ever since the world found out about Kyrie Irving’s shocking trade request, bits and pieces of information have been leaked, detailing a fractured relationship between the point guard and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
On Thursday, perhaps the most damning evidence of discord between the two sides was revealed.
On his “BBall Breakdown” podcast, ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, who follows the Cavs throughout the year, said that Irving was disengaged and seemingly made no effort to gel with his teammates in the playoffs, going multiple consecutive days without even saying a single word to them.
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"I'm not sure. Phoenix, of course, hired [former Cavalier] 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,” McMenamin detailed.
"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,” the Cavs insider reported.
This information is certainly surprising, given what was previously reported about the source of Irving’s unhappiness. Earlier this summer, the Cavaliers floated Irving’s name in trade rumors, and that was what reportedly angered him to the point of asking for a trade from the front office. However, this new information places his dissatisfaction chronologically before that time, stemming as far back as the team’s playoff run. Since something undoubtedly led to him shunning his teammates, issues between the point guard and his teammates could have gone back much further into the season or perhaps even longer.
Cleveland has made no indication of whether or not they will actually trade Irving. Oddly enough, given McMenamin’s report, no player in the Cavs locker room has said a word against Irving in an official capacity, either.
The saga between Irving and the Cavaliers continues, and it’s getting messier and messier by the day. If Irving is dealt, the entire landscape of the Eastern Conference will change. If he stays put, his relationship with his teammates and the fan base will be covered endlessly throughout the upcoming season.