Fans and media began speculating about Kobe Bryant‘s possible role in Kyrie Irving‘s surprising trade request almost immediately after the news broke, but The Black Mamba says he’s far too busy to get involved in Kyrie’s career.
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) July 24, 2017
Irving no longer wants to play alongside LeBron James, and expressed his desire to run his own show to Cavs ownership.
Windhorst: Kyrie sees himself as a Kobe type player but there are certain people that believe he is more like a Stephon Marbury type player
— ESPN Cleveland (@ESPNCleveland) July 24, 2017
Irving reportedly resents the deferential treatment LBJ receives on and off the court in Cleveland.
James has signed three contracts with the Cavs since Irving’s long-term commitment, and James can be a free agent again next year. Although he has given no legitimate indication he wants to leave Cleveland, he has also given no ironclad indication he wants to stay for a fourth contract. And it is unlikely he will offer any such assurance about his future in the short term, a reality everyone involved with the Cavs has been aware of.
Irving was tired of being Robin to James’ Batman. Tired of having another superstar — even one of the best players of all time — in control of his fate. Yes, he had learned from James in the three seasons they’d played together. Yes, he was appreciative. But Irving felt the time had come to take his destiny into his own hands. He wanted to be the centerpiece of a team, as he thought he was going to be three years ago, when he signed a five-year extension 11 days before James decided to come home.
And so on July 7, the kid who used to spend hours studying YouTube videos and perfecting his 1-on-1 moves in the driveway of his New Jersey home, walked into a planned sit-down with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert and asked to be traded. Then he told him he preferred it to be to one of four teams: the Minnesota Timberwolves, San Antonio Spurs, Miami Heat or New York Knicks.
Irving had been thinking about this day for some time. In preparation, he’d reached out to people he trusted seeking advice on how to go about it.