UPDATE: LeBron James took to Twitter on Tuesday morning to shoot down Stephen A. Smith's report about him allegedly wanting to fight Kyrie Irving:
LeBron also shot down a report about him being "eager" to see Irving leave the Cavaliers:
See original story below.
How did we get here?
Less than a week ago, despite a relatively slow start to their offseason, the Cavaliers were still favored to make a fourth straight trip to the NBA Finals next season. They hadn’t been able to add a major piece to their roster like some Cleveland fans hoped they would, but they still had LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love on their team—and that alone would likely be enough to get them back to the Finals at the conclusion of the 2017-18 NBA season.
But that all changed last Friday afternoon when, seemingly out of nowhere, an explosive report emerged about how Irving wanted to be traded. Although Irving didn’t speak publicly about his desire to be dealt, the report indicated that he was tired of being stuck in LeBron’s shadow and that he was unhappy with the way things were going for the Cavaliers this offseason. It led to a lot of speculation about where he could potentially be traded and how it could shake up the entire league.
As of now, Irving is still a member of the Cavaliers, and the thought is that he will likely remain a member of the Cavaliers for the foreseeable future. But if you buy into the reports that ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith has put out over the course of the last few days, it might only be a matter of time before Cleveland is forced to deal Irving due to his fractured relationship with LeBron.
On Saturday, Stephen A. made an appearance on SportsCenter and said that, according to his sources, LeBron and his camp were responsible for the report about Irving wanting to be traded getting leaked out to the media. He reported that Irving met with the Cavaliers a couple weeks ago about wanting to be traded and that the Cavaliers kept it under wraps after speaking with him. But once LeBron found out about the meeting, Stephen A. reported he was "put off by it" and decided to have his camp tell reporters about it. He also reported Irving wasn’t happy with LeBron for doing it.
On Monday, Stephen A. returned to his ESPN Radio show after taking most of the month of July off and added another wrinkle to the dramatic Kyrie/LeBron situation. While talking calls from his listeners, Stephen A. revealed that "sources" in LeBron’s camp recently told him that LeBron was so put off by the situation with Irving that, if they were in the same room together anytime soon, it would likely end with a fight. Stephen A. reported the sources said LeBron would be "tempted to beat" Irving's "ass."
"I’ve had sources in LeBron James’ camp literally tell me, and I’m quoting…if Kyrie Irving was in front of LeBron James right now, LeBron James would be tempted, quote, to beat his ass, end quote," Stephen A. said.
Stephen A. then suggested that LeBron is upset not because Irving reportedly wants to be traded but because LeBron’s name has been mentioned in connection to his trade request.
"LeBron is upset that Kyrie has made him a subject to be broached with regard to Kyrie’s desire to move out," Stephen A. said.
You can listen to Stephen A. talk about all of this below:
Again, how did we get here? Less than a week ago, as far as most people knew, Kyrie and LeBron were on the same page and committed to making another title run next June. And now? Well, it sounds like they can’t even commit to being in the same room. It’s going to be interesting to see where all of this goes next and how Kyrie and LeBron coexist if the Cavaliers decide to keep both of them next season.