Maybe because LeBron screwed up Irving’s plans with the Cavs once before, and Irving didn’t want to take another chance.
Jason Lloyd of The Athletic on 92.3 The Fan Cleveland:
It has been made clear to me by multiple people: Kyrie never really wanted LeBron to come back in the first place, that he didn’t think that it was necessary. LeBron said something to Kyrie on the court following a game when he was with Miami, something to the effect of, “Keep going. Keep doing what you’re doing. You never know. I could be back here one day” or something like that. And Kyrie went in the locker room and basically said, “We don’t need that. What’s he talking about? We don’t need that guy.”
He didn’t want him here in the first place. He didn’t think the Cavs needed LeBron. He didn’t want him here in the first place. That’s been told to me by many, many, many people throughout the organization.
And Irving’s reservations clearly came to fruition – at least in his mind, which is what mattered when Irving requested a trade. Irving’s LeBron fatigue, evident before their first game together, was apparently in effect even before LeBron returned to Cleveland. Their relationship wasn’t necessarily doomed to fail, but it was always an uphill battle.
This story also illustrates how LeBron’s plans become public long before he executes them. LeBron always insists he doesn’t know what he’ll do until the last season of his current contract ends. But, like anyone facing such a huge life decision, he deliberates in advance – sometimes with people who spread his thoughts. That’s how we heard of his Lakers interest more than a year ago and talk of his return to Cleveland got going even further in advance.
How much did that on-court conversation with Irving contribute to LeBron’s considerations leaking? LeBron didn’t tell Lonzo Ball anything so directly during their postgame talk, last season but was LeBron laying the groundwork for joining the Lakers?
I know this: In a couple years, as LeBron’s Lakers contract nears expiration, I’ll keep a closer eye on which young players he approaches after games.