In the Summer of 2014, LeBron James shook up the NBA world when he departed from the Miami Heat “Big 3” of him, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh to return to his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers. There to greet him was a young Kyrie Irving, who the Cavs had drafted with the number one overall pick in 2011. LeBron saw the potential of what a duo of him and Kyrie could do on the floor, which was one of the reasons he left Miami.
LeBron and Kyrie blossomed into arguably one of the most dominant duos in NBA history. Together they went to three consecutive NBA Finals from 2015-2017. In 2016, they did the impossible by overcoming a 3-1 deficit in the Finals to beat the 72-10 Golden State Warriors. A feat that had never been accomplished before.
But following a loss to the Golden State Warriors in 2017, Kyrie shocked everyone and demanded a trade from the Cavs. Now five years removed from making that career-altering decision, Irving is ready to admit he may have made his choice prematurely.
“Asking for a trade — I don’t think it was my time to ask for a trade,” Irving said in an interview with Shams Charania of “The Athletic”.
“And especially to go to Boston, who was number two or number one in our conference, it’s just right down the street. I’m grateful I had my time there because it was one of the most historical franchises that again, I did not know the power of our industry.”
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Kyrie Admits He ‘Messed up’ Cavaliers Situation
LeBron and Kyrie lost to the Warriors in the NBA Finals for the second time in three years in 2017. But it was a result that most people expected after Golden State signed Kevin Durant during the 2016 free agency period. Upon Irving’s departure from Cleveland to Boston in 2017, most people had penciled the Celtics in to win the Eastern Conference as they were now the clear-cut most talented team in the conference.
But ironically, LeBron and the Cavaliers beat the Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals to advance to their fourth consecutive NBA Finals berth. Irving did not play in the series due to an injury.
There will always be something left to the imagination about how much success the Cavs could have enjoyed if Kyrie never demanded that trade. Kyrie admits that he ‘messed up’ the situation in Cleveland, but explains part of the reason was he was too young to fully understand the business.
“When I reflect on it, at 30 years old I can say I understand the business better, I understand the way that roles work, and if anybody can sit here honestly and say they messed up, it was me,” Irving added.
“Because if I’m saying that it is family-run and relationship-run, then while I was in these situations I didn’t handle all of those relationships as I would have wanted.”
Kyrie Was Thrilled To Join Celtics
Although Irving admitted that ‘relationships’ were a factor in him wanting out of Cleveland, he says that his outlook on the Celtics organization at the time also made requesting a trade easy. He expounded on that during an appearance on the “I am an Athlete” podcast.
“When Boston came calling, I was like, ‘Absolutely, this makes sense!’” Kyrie said.
“I was like, ‘Why not Boston?’ It’s the Boston Celtics. This is one of the most historical franchises. My mom and my dad went to Boston University. I got my first offer from Boston University when I was in fifth grade. I used to be up at summer camp (in Boston) for two weeks at a time… It wasn’t foreign to me when they said ‘We want you to be part of our future.’”
With Kyrie’s free agency looming, you can be sure his next decision will be well thought out.