LeBron James's Departure Could Break Up Cleveland Cavaliers' Core for Good

LeBron James's status is uncertain past the summer of 2018.

Perhaps Kyrie Irving's is, too.

Irving, the Australian-born point guard who finished second to James in scoring in the 2017 NBA Finals, is reportedly unhappy at the sudden organizational dysfunction within the Cavaliers organization.

David Griffin, the Cavaliers' general manager, left the franchise Monday after reported differences with owner Dan Gilbert over the direction of the team.

According to the Chicago Sun Times, several Cavaliers players had been attempting to woo Jimmy Butler, the Chicago Bulls' three-time All Star, to northeast Ohio as James seeks ways to dethrone the Golden State Warriors.

But the Cavaliers' attempts to build a superteam could backfire spectacularly. The same report claims Irving has been talking to fellow Team USA players, suggesting he may be open to being traded—and that Cavaliers players are now warning Butler to stay away from a bad situation.

One possible destination for Irving? Chicago, although the Bulls would need to move pieces themselves to free up salary for Irving.

Dwyane Wade has opted to pick up his player option for 2017-18 worth $23.8 million. ESPN, meanwhile, reports that the Bulls continue to mull over a trade for Butler. But the suggestion is that Butler is leaning toward staying with the Bulls in the hope of making them a force again in the Eastern Conference.

Griffin's departure from Cleveland came as a "shock" to James, according to Cleveland.com, increasing the weight of Gilbert's roster decisions this summer. The 32-year-old can opt out of his contract next summer.

While the Cavaliers will probably enter next season with James and Irving, as favorites for the Eastern Conference once again, it's clear that all is not entirely well in Cleveland. If James is unhappy then Irving is likely unhappy too, and vice versa. Keeping the core together is looking like a tricky task for Griffin's replacement.

LeBron James's Departure Could Break Up Cleveland Cavaliers' Core for Good | Sports