The rumors and reports have been running wild ever since we learned Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving is demanding a trade before the upcoming season. We learned LeBron James is “devastated,” the duo has apparently been clashing for years, and Irving is apparently tired of being Robin to LeBron’s Batman. Reportedly, the last straw was being offered up in a potential trade for Paul George.
Something else we’ve also learned is that the Cavaliers have known about Kyrie’s unrest for some time now. That became even more apparent during a Chauncey Billups interview on the Vic Lombardi Show on Altitude Sports 950 AM on Tuesday. Billups told the show that he knew while interviewing for Cleveland’s president job last month that Irving’s unhappiness was something he would have to deal with early on if hired.
“[Irving’s trade request] didn’t surprise me. I knew as [the Cavs] were doing their due diligence on me I was doing the same thing on them.”
“I knew so much about the situation that the rest of the world doesn’t know. But it’s unfortunate, man, because [Irving is] a special talent. So much of what he’s been able to accomplish on and off the floor has been as the beneficiary of LeBron James. That would be alarming to me if I was a team looking to get him.”
Billups added that Irving should be careful what he wishes for. Playing with LeBron has lots of benefits besides just winning games.
“You’re getting everything you want. You’re getting all the shots you want, you’re playing for a great coach, when the game is on the line they’re coming to you, you’re playing on national TV every week. To me, I don’t get it. Everybody has their own desires. Maybe he wants to be Russell Westbrook and go try to win the MVP and get all the shots. That’s the only thing sense I can make of it, and to me that doesn’t make sense.”
Billups ended up turning down the job, though he was coy on the reasons why. It might have been because the franchise could lose LeBron after next season to free agency. Or it could have been because he knew there was a good chance Irving would want out and there aren’t enough pieces in place to compete. Whatever the reason, Billups won’t be the ones cleaning up the Cavs’ mess and that seems fine by him.