Kyrie Irving Trade Rumors: 'Intent and Expectation' on All Sides Is to Move Star

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistAugust 22, 2017

Cleveland Cavaliers' Kyrie Irving makes his way down the court during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers Sunday, March 19, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

The relationship between Kyrie Irving and the Cleveland Cavaliers may be irrevocably broken as the Cavs approach their regular-season opener against the Boston Celtics on Oct. 17.

Cleveland.com's Joe Vardon reported Tuesday on the Wine and Gold Talk podcast that the chances of reconciliation between Irving and the team are looking slim and that "the intent and expectation on all sides is to trade [Irving]."

Vardon added that the Cavaliers looked to trade Irving shortly after ESPN.com's Brian Windhorst reported Irving's trade request in July but didn't like his trade market at the time and didn't want to accept any bad offers. The team is hopeful Irving's market will heat up closer to the regular season.

The questions over Irving's future come at a time when LeBron James' long-term outlook in Cleveland is similarly murky. He's in the final guaranteed year of his contract, and few would be surprised if he left the Cavaliers following what has been an unstable summer for the franchise.

Chris Sheridan of Sheridan Hoops spoke to a source Aug. 16 who said James "is 100 percent leaving." Vardon, however, refuted that report, tweeting "three sources close to LeBron said this latest tweet about him is 100 percent false."

Windhorst, Ramona Shelburne and Dave McMenamin reported for ESPN.com in July that Irving wants to have an opportunity to play a starring role on another team and that he "was tired of being Robin to James' Batman."

In a perfect world, Irving could stick around in Cleveland through the 2017-18 season.

If James left, then Irving would be the unquestioned leader in Cleveland and the Cavs would still have the four-time All-Star guard around whom they could build the franchise. If James re-signed, then general manager Koby Altman could revisit trade talks again.

However, it appears there's no going back from Irving's trade request, and the longer Altman waits to pull the trigger on a trade, the more leverage he seemingly surrenders in negotiations.

Should the Cavaliers be unable to work out a deal with another team prior to their season opener, it will certainly create an interesting situation as to whether Irving would be available to take the court against the Celtics.