Former Cavs trainer shoots down rumored fallout between LeBron James, Kyrie Irving
When Kyrie Irving asked the Cavs to trade him after the 2016-17 season, several reports indicated that he had some sort of a fallout with LeBron James. It seems those claims weren’t necessarily true, however, according to the team’s former high-performance director, Alex Moore.
Moore, who spent six years with the Cavs, recently joined OmniSport to dismiss the notion that Irving and James came to odds.
“There was no falling out. I think that’s more media talk,” Moore told Omnisport. “The locker room was totally fine. [Irving] just wanted to go in another direction.”
James re-joined the Cavs in 2014 after four seasons with the Miami Heat, where he won two titles. Irving, a budding superstar at that time, was already breaking ankles in Cleveland. Together, they led the Cavs to their first championship (2016).
“When he came back, the entire place changed,” Moore said of James. “The emphasis went on winning a championship.”
“He’s so professional and he’s such an unbelievable athlete that, when he came back, everybody was just driven. There was this feeling that, ‘We have to win this, we’re going to do everything we can’.
“The way he displays, on and off the court, is such a great example that everyone else falls in line with what he’s doing.”
The real reason Irving requested a trade might not have much to do with James at all. According to a report that was issued by ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, Irving didn’t like the fact that his name was being tossed about in potential trade scenarios.
On the night of the 2017 NBA Draft, a group of Cavs front-office personnel and coaches held an impromptu meeting to discuss Irving’s future with the team. Just two weeks later, Irving requested a trade.
“On the day of the NBA draft back in June, just days after Cleveland parted ways with former GM David Griffin, a robust Cavs contingent made up of front-office personnel, coaches and team support staff members held an impromptu, “what if?” discussion about Kyrie Irving’s future, multiple team sources confirmed to ESPN.
“The discussion, characterized as “small talk” by one source familiar with its content, was less a formal straw poll of what the Cavs should do with their All-Star point guard should trade opportunities present themselves, and more of a thought exercise anticipating what the market could bear for a player of Irving’s caliber.
“The talk got back to Irving, multiple team sources told ESPN, and that served as the tipping point that led to Irving formally requesting a trade a little more than two weeks later.”
Though they didn’t have to, the Cavs granted Irving’s request, sending him to the Boston Celtics for a 2018 first-round pick, Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, and Ante Zizic. The pick, which netted the Cavs Collin Sexton, and Zizic, are all that remains of the deal now.
Did James and Irving have their differences at times? Of course. That’s not to say they didn’t get along, though. In fact, much of their time spent together was filled with laughter (and a lot of winning).
They’re no longer teammates, but the memories James and Irving made in Cleveland will live on forever.