Sloppy, Informal Meeting Led to Kyrie Irving’s Trade Request from Cleveland Cavaliers


The grapevine within the Cleveland Cavaliers organization features limited trust and loose lips.

Like Marvin Gaye before him, Kyrie Irving heard about something last summer that many hoped he wouldn’t.

According to an ESPN report by Dave McMenamin, Cavaliers brass held a meeting on draft day in 2017 where members of the front office and team staffers spoke informally about Irving’s trade possibilities.

Irving heard it through the grapevine, and not much longer would he be Cleveland’s, baby.

The All-Star point guard was upset, likely at the fact that a meeting took place, the informality of it, and the ease with which information seems to leak out of Cleveland. Irving requested a trade not long after, taking it out of the hands of those in attendance.

“It was sloppy,” one league source familiar with the draft-day discussion told ESPN, adding that any talk about trading a player of Irving’s ilk — however informal it might be — should be handled strictly between the GM and owner, because of the sensitive nature of its content. Once a player feels expendable or undervalued from his own team, getting him to buy back in is a prickly proposition.

The rest, may Boston Celtics be history.

McMenamin’s report goes on to say that no one is outright blaming now GM Koby Altman, who at the time was serving in an interim capacity after the departure of David Griffin just days before the draft. However, it does seem that there was some tension between Altman and star LeBron James about how things panned out during the summer and first half of the 2017-18 season.

With Altman’s strong performance at the trade deadline earlier this month, though, it seems those bridges are at least temporarily mended.

“Communication is always key in sports,” James told McMenamin. “If you have new guys or guys who have been together for years, communication is always key.”

Just don’t let that communication find the wrong ears.

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Mike Walsh

Mike Walsh manages the Newsfeed and runs Boston Celtics content at CLNS Media. He can be heard regularly on the daily Celtics Newsfeed and a variety of other podcasts, as well as read on the CLNS Media site. Walsh works full-time as a sports writer at The Berkshire Eagle in Western Massachusetts. He joined CLNS in 2015 after spending three years as the lead Celtics writer at Bleacher Report. Reach Walsh via email to or on Twitter @CLNS_Walsh.