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LeBron James was 'devastated' by Kyrie Irving’s trade request from the Cavaliers

James was blindsided by the request, per ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.

2017 NBA Finals - Game Four Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Kyrie Irving has requested to be traded from the Cleveland Cavaliers, and the move has “devastated” LeBron James, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said on Pardon the Interruption Friday afternoon. In an article, Windhorst also wrote that James was “blindsided and disappointed” by Irving’s decision to attempt to force his way out of Cleveland.

Here’s what Windhorst said about James.

And here’s a transcription of what he said with emphasis added.

You know, I’m keeping the language just down the middle in that story, Pablo. LeBron was devastated, from what I understand. Certainly, they had their run ins at times, but he felt an affection and an attachment to Kyrie. Yes, he is only signed for one more year, but he hasn’t made up his mind and Kyrie is signed for two more years. Kyrie was positioned to have his own choice in two years. Really, LeBron thought they were going to come back together and try to beat the Warriors next year. That’s what he’s focused on, that’s what he’s planning on doing.

It has been rumored that James could leave Cleveland in 2018, but Windhorst indicates that it isn’t — or, at least, wasn’t — a done deal. But the Irving murmurs that have now surfaced rather suddenly may quickly change that.

James shouldn’t be blamed for this, although it does seem like his presence ultimately pushed Irving away. Irving reportedly wants to be a focal point for a team, and while he did take more field goal attempts and sport a higher usage rating than James last season, it’s true that he always fell in James’ shadow. Given James’ status as one of the most famous athletes alive, it was impossible for Irving to ever get the same recognition — even if his presence to James was a signal booster of his own.

For now, it seems like the Cavaliers will likely move swiftly to deal Irving, assuming any reconciliation isn’t possible. And while James might be the best basketball player alive, there’s nothing he can do to make Irving want to play with him.