LeBron James is subtweeting again.

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Stephen A. Smith: LeBron James wants to 'beat Kyrie Irving's a--'

Alex Reimer
July 25, 2017 - 10:07 am

The drama surrounding the Cavaliers doesn’t seem like it’s going to stop any time soon. In fact, it may only intensify as the summer wears on. 

Star point guard Kyrie Irving reportedly wants out of Cleveland, because he’s tired of taking a back seat to LeBron James. Irving, 25, signed a five-year contract with the Cavaliers in July 2014 –– just days before the club brought back James for his second go-around.

James’ camp supposedly hasn’t responded well to Irving’s apparent request. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst says the three-time champion was “blindsided” and “devastated” when he heard the news. Stephen A. Smith added to Windhorst’s report on his radio show Monday, saying James is tempted to get physical with Irving. 

“I’ve had sources in LeBron James’s 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 a––,’ end quote," Smith said. 

The seeming animosity between James and Irving appears to go both ways. Earlier Monday, Smith said on ESPN’s “First Take” that Irving thinks James leaked the news about his trade request in order to paint him in a negative light. 

“They believe that LeBron James got word of it and was put off by it and leaked it,” Smith explained. “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."

It’s been a tumultuous offseason for the Cavaliers, who dismissed general manager David Griffin days before the NBA Draft, despite James endorsing him for the job. James can opt out of his contract at the end of the 2018 campaign.  

When Irving sat down with owner Dan Gilbert, he reportedly listed four trade destination preferences: the Knicks, Timberwolves, Spurs and Heat. ESPN’s Zach Lowe says the Celtics made an “obligatory call,” but it’s unlikely those discussions would advance past the preliminary stage. In order to acquire Irving, the Celtics would probably have to surrender a package consisting of Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder and one of their upcoming potential lottery picks. 

The Cavaliers already seem like they’re preparing to make one more run without Irving. They signed the remains of point guard Derrick Rose Monday, which James applauded on Twitter. Commissioner Adam Silver, meanwhile, expressed his sympathy towards Cleveland on the "Rich Eisen Show" for the way its offseason has played out.