We knew previously that the Cleveland Cavaliers had offered Kyrie Irving in trade talks and that helped lead to his trade request. But now the actual deal that was offered appears to have been reported.
In an appearance on The Herd, Chris Broussard explained the deal that the Cavs had in place to trade Irving. He also explained that this was perceived by Irving to be James pushing him out the door.
As transcribed by SLAM:
“The final straw as to why [Kyrie] wants out of Cleveland… I’m told that the Cavaliers had a deal done heading into the draft.” […]
“Cleveland would send Kyrie to Phoenix, which does want Kyrie. (Suns owner) Robert Sarver wants Kyrie Irving. […] Phoenix would send Eric Bledsoe and the No. 4 pick back to the Cavaliers.
“The Cavaliers would send the No. 4 pick to Indiana for Paul George. So you’re getting Eric Bledsoe and Paul George for Kyrie Irving. Now, that was going to happen.
“Dan Gilbert goes to LeBron and goes, ‘Look, we’ve got this deal on the table. I’ll do it if you commit long-term to stay in Cleveland.’” […]
“But [LeBron] would not commit, so Dan Gilbert would not do the deal.
“Now, Kyrie Irving finds out about the deal. […] And he rightly assumed that there’s no way the Cavaliers are doing this unless LeBron gives consent.
“That’s why he got mad with LeBron. He thought LeBron was in on it.
“LeBron’s take was more, Look, I’m not trying to trade Kyrie Irving. He’s great. But that’s a heck of a deal—Eric Bledsoe and Paul George. So if you do it, hey, that’s a great deal.
“But Kyrie took it as LeBron wanted him out of there.”
On the one hand, this is a deal that absolutely would have made sense from a Cavs standpoint. Getting to pair both Bledsoe and George with LeBron James, Kevin Love, and Tristan Thompson would help even the playing field against the Warriors.
With the front office in flux, it’s easy to see how Irving could have interpreted this as being something pushed by James. The ironic part is, if the report is accurate, James was ultimately the one that killed the deal by not committing beyond this season.
Whether or not this is the deal that the Cavs offered to move Irving that wound up upsetting him, we may never know. But as time goes on, we will likely find out more and more about what went into one of the most surprising stories of the offseason.
This also could be the first step in spinning the conversation towards reconciliation. Whether to make the need to trade Irving seem less necessary and help the Cavs leverage in a deal, or for the team to work things out. Sowing the seeds of this being a misunderstanding or that the players didn’t realize the full story is certainly an interesting angle to come out.