Kyrie Irving denies he would have had knee surgery rather than play for Cavaliers

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Kyrie Irving had asked for a trade out of Cleveland (who had already tried to trade him to Phoenix in a three-way deal, which set off the chain of events). LeBron James reportedly asked Cleveland management not to trade Irving and give him a chance to smooth things over, but the latest twist in the saga was Irving allegedly threatening to get knee surgery at the start of the season rather than play for the Cavaliers again.

Friday, Kyrie Irving denied that, via A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston.

Three quick thoughts here:

First, at least half the players in the NBA — maybe a lot more — could have some kind of knee surgery at any point. The human body was not meant to run marathons on a hardwood court, no matter how cushioned the shoes.

Second, of course the Cavaliers are trying to spin the “he forced our hand” narrative, because since the trade pretty much everything that could have gone wrong for them has (Isaiah Thomas‘ hip injury kept him out until January, and Jae Crowder has had maybe the worst season of his career). The Cavaliers are a mess, and everybody is pointing fingers. With that, of course Irving is going to deny this.

Third, Irving may not have made that threat personally. Could someone from his camp done it through back channels? Of course. Maybe they did, maybe they didn’t, but that’s the more likely way a message like this is sent, not directly.