Kyrie Irving did not speak to LeBron James before requesting the trade that eventually sent him from the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Boston Celtics. And while he acknowledges that James might take that lack of communication personally, Irving really does not care.
Irving appeared Monday on ESPN’s “First Take” and provided those answers, in a very matter-of-fact manner, to questions asked by co-host Stephen A. Smith.
Irving did go on to give a more thoughtful response.
"I don't think that you owe anything to another person in terms of figuring out what you want to do with your life,” Irving said. “It's not anything personal. I'm not here to tirade anybody, I’m not here to go at any particular person or the organization because I have nothing but love for Cleveland. I’ve got nothing but love for the times that I spent there. There’s nothing about that.
“There comes a time where you mature as an individual, it's time to make that decision. And there is no looking back from that standpoint. There is no time to figure out how to save someone's feelings when, ultimately, you have to be selfish in figuring out what you want to do.
“It wasn’t about me not wanting to win, it wasn’t anything about that. I want to be extremely, extremely happy in perfecting my craft. And that was the only intent that I have in all of this.”
Irving also clarified that his decision “didn’t have anything to do with not wanting to play with the best player on the planet, didn’t have anything to do with not wanting to be second fiddle.”
Smith asked Irving if he believed he could win, presumably a championship, without James. Irving’s first response was: “Time will tell.” But when pressed, the new Celtic said: “Oh, absolutely.”