We have quite the development in the Kyrie Irving-Cleveland Cavaliers saga.
The Boston Celtics point guard, who conspicuously requested a trade from the Cavs this summer, threatened to sit out the 2017-18 season and undergo knee surgery if Cleveland didn’t honor his request, Cleveland.com’s Joe Vardon reported Thursday, citing multiple sources.
Per Vardon, Irving’s threat was enough to convince owner Dan Gilbert and Cavs management that his relationship with the club was “not salvageable,” leading Cleveland to trade Irving to Boston in late August.
Threats aside, it’s a bit eye-opening the 25-year-old has a knee issue that apparently requires surgery, considering he’s played in 46 of the Celtics’ 49 games this season and is averaging 24.5 points per game. But the procedure reportedly would be a “minor” surgery to follow up on the broken kneecap he suffered during the 2015 NBA Finals and is “not pressing” — according to Vardon, the surgery would “ease some of the swelling and day-to-day pain” Irving feels but can be done in the offseason.
Irving threatened to have that procedure done instead of report to Cleveland’s training camp, though, and teammate LeBron James was “upset” when the Cavs caved and traded Irving to Boston, Vardon reported.
It’s been well-documented Irving no longer wanted to play with James, but LeBron actually went to ownership asking them not to trade the All-Star point guard after Irving’s request went public, per Vardon.
It appears Irving essentially offered the Cavs an ultimatum, though, and the result was Gilbert shipping him off to Boston in exchange for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 first-round pick.
We can’t imagine this report will cool any tensions between Kyrie and LeBron when Cleveland comes to town Feb. 11.