It’s been six months since Kyrie Irving requested a trade from the Cavaliers, but the now-Celtics guard’s reasoning for wanting to leave LeBron James’s side has largely remained confounding. Let Irving explain.
“Leaving was inevitable,” Irving told ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan for a wide-ranging feature published Wednesday. “I could feel it. … They didn’t want me there.”
As the story and previous reports outline, then-Cavs GM David Griffin explored a trade that would have sent Irving to Phoenix and brought Eric Bledsoe and Paul George to Cleveland. Irving, according to MacMullan’s sources, “became convinced that LeBron’s camp, which also represents Bledsoe, orchestrated the trade talks.” LeBron, in response to a question about Irving’s belief that the Cavs didn’t want him, told ESPN, “That makes absolutely no sense.”
Before the season began, Irving appeared on First Take and answered questions about LeBron in a strange manner, avoiding giving hard answers after choosing to appear on the show in the first place. LeBron, in an ESPN interview of his own, repeatedly called Kyrie “kid.”
MacMullan also reported that James did not commit to staying with the Cavs beyond this season when approached by owner Dan Gilbert during the Irving discussions with Boston.
What a perfect time for another Celtics-Cavs game!
Isaiah Thomas, who was sent from Boston to Cleveland as part of the trade package for Irving, won’t play Wednesday as part of his recovery from a hip injury that sidelined him for all of the Cavs’ games before the new year. Thomas made his return Tuesday, finishing with 17 points and one standing ovation in 19 minutes.
But there’s still plenty to learn from the first game between the two presumptive favorites in the East since the season opener. And now, even more drama than we originally expected.