Ken Blaze/USA Today Sports

Kyrie Irving requests trade from Cavs, opening path to NBA Finals for Celtics

Ty Anderson
July 21, 2017 - 4:07 pm

The Celtics may inherit the Eastern Conference sooner than anybody imagined, and likely without much of a fight from the team that’s dominated it for the last three years, as Kyrie Irving has formally requested a trade out of Cleveland, according to ESPN.

That request was made in a meeting with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert last week, with the 25-year-old Irving reportedly tired of playing with LeBron James and with a desire to be moved to a team where he can be the focal point of that team’s offensive game.

Irving’s agent, Jeff Wechsler, declined to get into the specifics of that meeting.

"Kyrie and I had a meeting with Cavs leadership where we discussed many different scenarios in reference to Kyrie and his future with the team," Wechsler told ESPN. "The basis of those discussions and what went on in those discussions are between the Cavs and us. We are respectfully going to keep those private."

Losing Irving without acquiring a superstar of equal value would by all means serve as the deathblow to the Cavaliers, who are already expected to lose James (for the second time in their franchise’s history) as a free agent next summer, especially this season.

And his loss would without question open up a clearer path to the fourth round for the Celtics, as the Cavaliers are 9-8 against the Celtics with Irving in the regular-season lineup, and a dominating 8-1 against the C’s in the playoffs when Irving plays.

The 6-foot-3 Irving was especially dominant in the Cavs’ Game 4 win over the C’s in last year’s Eastern Finals, with a playoff-high 42 points on 15-of-22 shooting from the floor.

Irving, a four-time All-Star drafted by the Cavs with the No. 1 overall pick in 2011, set career-highs with 25.2 points per game and a 47.3 field goal percentage last season.