Before the Cleveland Cavaliers traded Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics on Tuesday, the point guard was reportedly nearly a member of the Phoenix Suns.
Citing sources, The Athletic's Jason Lloyd reported Friday that the Cavaliers were "close" to shipping Irving to the desert in a three-team deal with the Indiana Pacers that would have sent Paul George and Eric Bledsoe to Cleveland.
As part of the framework, Channing Frye would have joined Irving in Phoenix, while the Pacers would have acquired the Suns' No. 4 overall pick that turned into Josh Jackson, as well as Jared Dudley and Iman Shumpert.
Lloyd noted the deal fell apart after Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert decided to jettison former general manager David Griffin and executive Trent Redden before their contracts expired.
Koby Altman was subsequently named the team's new GM, and the Cavaliers dealt Irving to the Celtics in exchange for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, the Brooklyn Nets' 2018 first-round NBA draft pick and Ante Zizic.
Lloyd's report of a potential three-team trade between the Cavaliers, Suns and Pacers comes a month after ESPN.com's Ramona Shelburne, Dave McMenamin and Brian Windhorst relayed word that the defending Eastern Conference champions attempted to deal for George on draft night June 22.
Citing sources, they reported the "Nuggets were willing to include wing Gary Harris and the No. 13 pick in that night's draft to get Love, and the Cavs would reroute the assets to Indy for George."
Although the Cavaliers came up short in their pursuit of George, they were able to load up short-term with Thomas, Crowder and Zizic and acquire long-term security with the Nets pick in the event LeBron James and IT depart in free agency next summer.