Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving was almost traded to the #Phoenix Suns before the 2017 NBA Draft, and the All-Star playmaker thought LeBron James was behind it. Chris Broussard of Fox Sports 1 said the Suns offered Eric Bledsoe and the No. 4 pick for Irving. According to the Cavaliers plan, they will trade the No. 4 pick to the Indiana Pacers for Paul George. The deal was almost approved when Cavaliers team owner Dan Gilbert approached James and informed him about the trade. Gilbert told James that they would pursue the deal if he commits long-term to stay in Cleveland.

However, James did not give his word that he will sign a long-term deal with the Cavaliers, so the deal did not push through. When informed of the trade and James’ pronouncement to Gilbert, Irving thought that his fellow superstar wanted him out of Cleveland. Broussard said that was the final straw that pushed Irving to ask for a trade out of Cleveland.

Irving then demanded a trade

On July 7, Irving approached Gilbert and asked for a trade, saying he wants to become the leader of a team and he’s tired of playing under James’ shadow. He also mentioned the San Antonio Spurs, Miami Heat, Minnesota Timberwolves and the New York Knicks as possible trade destinations. Several teams have made their offers for Irving, but the Cavaliers said they want a win-now veteran, a blue-chip young player, and a top draft pick.

The Cavaliers expressed interest in rookie Josh Jackson, who was taken No. 4 by the Suns in the Draft, and sharpshooter Devin Booker. However, the Suns were not interested in parting ways with their young players. Instead, the Suns offered Bledsoe, Dragan Bender, and a 2018 top pick for Irving, which the Cavaliers turned down.

The Cavaliers are also eyeing Jamal Murray and Gary Harris from the Denver Nuggets. Irving, for his part, is willing to sign a long-term deal with Spurs if he's traded to San Antonio.

Did James, Irving really meet?

Recently, Tony Rizzo of ESPN reported that James and Irving personally met in Florida for the first time since the latter demanded a trade.

According to Rizzo, there were no heated discussions between the superstars. However, another ESPN personality – Stephen A. Smith – belied Rizzo’s claim. According to Smith, James and Irving did not meet in Miami to discuss their situation. In his earlier report, Smith said James might be “tempted to beat Irving’s ass if he saw him right now.” However, James denied that he wants to hurt Irving, saying Smith’s claim was fake news.