The end of Kyrie Irving’s tenure with the Cavaliers seemed icy at best and openly contentious at worst. Well, it appears that it was closer to the latter after his trade demand, and Joe Vardon is reporting that Irving threatened to get season-ending knee surgery if the team didn’t move him.
According to multiple sources, Irving threatened to sit out the season and have surgery on his knee, convincing Gilbert and Cleveland’s front office that the relationship with Irving was not salvageable.
Irving has dealt with knee injuries over the course of his career, seemingly stemming from his broken kneecap that he suffered in Game 1 of the 2015 Finals. Irving does reportedly need surgery on his knee to help relieve swelling and day-to-day pain, but it’s not necessarily a pressing need and he’s currently able to play for the Celtics.
As with every report that features leaked information, it’s fair to question the timing here. The Cavaliers front office is obviously feeling some heat, and might want a little more leeway for their trade return for Kyrie which is looking worse by the day.
With that said, it’s hard to challenge them too hard for moving Kyrie, though calling his bluff could have been an option. A player who’s already been tagged as “injury” prone in his career is unlikely to add to that resumé, and sitting out a whole year isn’t good for his bottom line.
Honestly, this ultimately just doesn’t matter much beyond providing extra context. The trade has been made, and the Cavaliers will have to make due with the roster they currently have. Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, and even the Brooklyn pick have all been disappointing in their own ways, but worrying about Kyrie Irving may not be the most productive thing for the fanbase to do.