That all remained under wraps for a couple weeks.
Why did it become public now?
Stephen A. Smith on ESPN:
According to my sources, they believe LeBron James had everything to do with news getting out that Kyrie Irving wants to be traded, because Kyrie Irving and his representation and others met with the Cavaliers a couple weeks ago, and not a word got out until recently. They believe that LeBron James got word of it and was put off by it and leaked it. I’m not going to accuse LeBron of such a thing. I don’t know that to be true at all. But I know that’s what Kyrie Irving believes.
To reemphasize, Smith is not reporting that LeBron leaked Irving’s trade request, just that Irving believes LeBron did. That alone speaks to their disconnect.
Why would LeBron leak it?
Just speculating, but maybe to ruin Irving’s chance at a smooth exit. Irving is trying to bail on LeBron, and LeBron might take that personally. Leaking the trade request would be in character for LeBron as a passive-aggressive response.
But the trade request becoming public also hinders Irving’s trade value – which hurts LeBron’s team. However, people don’t always act logically when they’re upset. And maybe the Cavs won’t be LeBron’s team long enough for it to matter.
Again, though, nobody is reporting LeBron actually leaked it. Irving’s reported accusation means enough in itself.