LeBron James Is Still Hung Up On Cavaliers Trading Kyrie Irving to Boston, Six Months Later

Almost half a year on from the trade that stunned the NBA, the rancor between LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and the Cavaliers still lingers.

A new report by Cleveland.com, published on Thursday evening, offered up some new combustible material. Joe Vardon claimed Irving was so irked by the Cavaliers’ efforts to trade him to the Indiana Pacers for Paul George, he was prepared to go on strike for the season.

“According to multiple sources, Irving threatened to sit out the season and have surgery on his knee, convincing Gilbert and Cleveland's front office that the relationship was not salvageable”, Vardon wrote. Irving was also apparently upset at the departure of general manager David Griffin, in addition to his widely-reported discontent at playing in James's shadow. Irving had surgery to repair a broken kneecap in 2015 and needs a follow-up procedure, Vardon reports. While that should be done in the offseason, the 25-year-old (successfully) used it as leverage to get out of Cleveland.

Six months later, and with the Celtics flying at the top of the Eastern Conference and the Cavaliers mired in mediocrity, James is apparently still annoyed that Cleveland allowed Irving to control the situation. "[James] has made it no secret in recent weeks that he felt Irving shouldn't have been traded”, Vardon reported.

Right now, the Irving trade couldn’t look worse for the Cavaliers. The point guard has pushed the Celtics to a new level by raising the games of the rookies and talented young players around him. Isaiah Thomas has been inconsistent offensively and fallible defensively since his comeback from injury. Jae Crowder is about to get benched for the game against the Pacers on Friday night. The Brooklyn Nets have been better than expected.

And James, who can leave in the summer, is apparently still stewing. The Cavaliers’ problems, already sizeable, could be just beginning.