Kyrie's incredible threat to force NBA bombshell
BASKETBALL: It has been well documented that Kyrie Irving requested a trade to leave the Cavaliers this past offseason.
How Irving reportedly pushed the Cavaliers to grant his request adds another layer of intrigue to one of the most fascinating trades in NBA history.
Irving told the Cavaliers if they did not trade him, he would have knee surgery and sit out the season, Cleveland.com reported Thursday.
This convinced owner Dan Gilbert that the relationship was broken beyond repair, and new general manager Koby Altman traded Irving to the Celtics for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and two draft picks, including one that was originally the Nets' first-round choice in the 2018 draft.
Cleveland.com reported that Irving needs minor knee surgery as a follow-up to the one he had after he missed the 2015 NBA finals with a broken kneecap. It's a minor procedure, and something any athlete would normally just take care of in the offseason.
But Irving reportedly said he would skip training camp - something ESPN previously reported - and then have the surgery done during the season.
The Cavaliers decided to trade Irving, upsetting LeBron James. The website reported James told management not to deal Irving, despite the trade request being public knowledge, and that he would mend the relationship between the two superstars.
The reply was that they had no choice and made the deal with the Celtics, who are now in first place in the Eastern Conference and 6.5 games ahead of the struggling Cavaliers, who have lost 11 of the past 15 games and are one of the two worst defensive teams in the NBA.
"I went straight to the guy,” James said in September. "(Irving) basically just let me know that that was the direction that he wanted to go in.
"And I was OK with that. And it's a business. I understand that. It doesn't stop me from leading this franchise and leading this team and going on about it.”