Report: LeBron James' Uncertainty Has Cavs Protecting Team in Kyrie Irving Talks

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistAugust 15, 2017

Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James, back, talks with Kyrie Irving in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Orlando Magic, Saturday, Jan. 2, 2016, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Tony Dejak/Associated Press

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Tuesday that the possibility of LeBron James leaving next offseason in free agency is impacting the Cleveland Cavaliers' trade talks regarding Kyrie Irving.

Wojnarowski added that while the Cavs are hopeful they will be able to re-sign James, they aren't assuming it will happen. Because of that, they are looking to land young assets in a deal for Irving that could give them some building blocks for the future if LeBron walks.

New York Knicks big man Kristaps Porzingis, Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum, Phoenix Suns wing Josh Jackson and Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray are among the players who would interest the Cavs in an Irving trade, per Wojnarowski.

ESPN's Brian Windhorst first reported last month that Irving requested a trade from Cleveland due to his desire to be a No. 1 guy rather than playing in James' shadow.

Among the teams he reportedly listed as desired landing spots were the Knicks, San Antonio Spurs, Minnesota Timberwolves and Miami Heat.

James' future with the Cavs is a hot-button issue that has led to plenty of speculation that he could be heading out west.

Bleacher Report's Kevin Ding reported in June that LeBron's wife would prefer to live in Los Angeles full time. Then, James recently referred to L.A. as "home" in a tweet.

Should LeBron leave the Cavaliers in favor of the Los Angeles Lakers or Los Angeles Clippers, it could potentially result in Cleveland having a bare cupboard in terms of superstars.

Trading Irving for one or multiple young studs is one way to ensure that the team at least has promise even if the face of the franchise decides to move on.