It’s the trade request heard around the world: Kyrie Irving wants out of Cleveland.

But why would Kyrie want out of Cleveland? He’s been to the NBA Finals for three seasons in a row, won a ring in 2016, and plays with arguably the best player in the world. So why would he want out?


These are all good questions brought up to Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard who was somewhat critical of Irving for his trade request, specifically in response to reports that Irving wants a situation like Lillard has in Portland where he can be the centerpiece of a franchise.

Lillard appeared on SI Now and talked about the Irving situation, befuddled that anyone wouldn’t want to have a golden ticket to the NBA Finals every year:

“Who wouldn’t want to go to the Finals every year?” Lillard said. “I think they’ve been to the Finals the last three years. I would love to do that.”

“I don’t know because I’ve never played with LeBron,” the Portland guard added. “Just watching from the outside, you see how easy he makes the game for everybody else. I’m not sure what it’s like playing with LeBron in person but the player, I’m not sure why anybody wouldn’t want to play with him.”

Lillard does make some excellent points. LeBron the player is a tremendous sight to behold and there’s no question his abilities probably make Irving better. Whether it’s getting open for Irving to dish it to him or vice versa, there have probably been plenty of times where LeBron has made Irving a better player.

On top of that as Lillard points out, they’ve been to the finals three years in a row! If Irving and Lillard switched spots three years ago, chances are very high that Irving would have watched Lillard play in the finals the last three years.

So why on Earth would Irving want out? Well that’s an important question. If it has to do with some beef he has with LeBron that’s one thing. If it has to do with the front office and ownership’s lack of activity this offseason, that’s another.

Plenty of people would probably be on Lillard’s side in this scenario. Just look at Twitter:

Irving would have no ring and no finals appearances if it weren’t for LeBron (and Kevin Love to an extent) so to come out and request a trade right now when the Cavs are arguably one piece away from another title is stunning.

Then again the NBA is a wild league and anything can happen really.

[Sports Illustrated]

About David Lauterbach

David is a writer for The Comeback. He enjoyed two Men's Basketball Final Four trips for Syracuse before graduating in 2016. If The Office or Game of Thrones is on TV, David will be watching.