All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving doesn’t want to play second fiddle to LeBron James anymore, asking the Cleveland Cavaliers to trade him. The ESPN report came as a surprise as the two got along together since James returned to the Cavaliers in 2014, winning the NBA title two seasons ago. According to ESPN sources, Irving wants to become a focal point of a team’s offense rather than playing support to a superstar like James.

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Irving made his request last week to team owner Dan Gilbert.

Irving’s agent, Jeff Wechsler, did not confirm or deny his client’s request but said they had a meeting with the Cavaliers leadership where they discussed Irving’s future with the team. In an interview with Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Wechsler refused to discuss details of the meeting, saying “those discussions are between the Cavs and us.

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We are respectfully going to keep those private."

Sources said James was disappointed and blindsided when informed of Irving’s request. Other members of the Cavaliers were also informed of Irving’s request to be traded. Irving has three years and $60 million remaining on his contract but he can opt out of the final year before the 2019-20 season.

Before general manager David Griffin parted ways with the Cavaliers, Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio reported that the team received several calls inquiring about Irving’s availability via trade. Amico said Griffin was unwilling to move their 2011 No. 1 pick, but team Gilbert could have other plans moving forward.

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Irving said team in peculiar state

The report of Irving’s trade request came days after he told Sports Illustrated that the Cavaliers were in a "peculiar" place after several missed opportunities to acquire big names from the free agent market and front-office changes in the offseason. However, Irving said that best thing that players can do is “handle things with class and professionalism" while he takes the “wait and see approach” on the Cavaliers’ moves during the summer.

When news of James leaving the Cavaliers in 2018 surfaced, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times reported that Irving told some of his former Team USA teammates that he will ask for a trade before James leaves. Cowley added that Irving is interested in playing for the Chicago Bulls.

Can Irving excel in playing without James?

A four-time All-Star, Irving averaged a career-high 25.2 points and 5.8 assists per game last season.

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During his stay with the Cavaliers, he averaged 21.6 points, 3.4 rebounds and 5.6 assists per outing. However, based on data, Irving failed to carry the Cavaliers on his own. In 574 minutes that Irving played and LeBron didn’t, the Cavs were outscored by 90 points in the regular season. In the playoffs, the Cavaliers were outscored by 30 points in 61 minutes in the playoffs with only Irving on the floor.

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The Golden State Warriors dominated the Cavaliers, 37-13, with only Irving on the floor.

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