Nets point guard Kyrie Irving recently opened up about requesting a trade from the Cavaliers in 2017, sharing that his own immaturity prevented the trio of himself, LeBron James and Kevin Love from claiming any additional titles.
Appearing on the I AM ATHLETE podcast with Brandon Marshall, LeSean McCoy and Adam “Pacman” Jones, Irving dismissed the idea that he asked out of Cleveland in order to step out from James’s shadow. Instead, the All-Star point guard explained that he was dealing with own personal issues at the time that led him to isolate himself from the rest of his Cavaliers teammates.
“If I was in the same maturity level and understanding of who I am [now], and I look back, we definitely, definitely would’ve won more championships,” Irving said. “Because there would’ve been a better man-to-man understanding [with LeBron] about what I’m going through. I didn’t know how to share my emotions. I didn’t know how to do that. So instead of sharing, I isolated myself.”
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Irving went on to express regret over not speaking to James during the time period when he asked for a trade.
“We didn’t talk during that time,” Irving said. “When I look back on what I was going through at that time, I wish I did [talk to LeBron], because it would’ve been a good understanding of what the future will hold for both of us and we know how much power we both had together. Me and him in the league together running Cleveland, and then being able to put a better team together every single year would’ve definitely been worth it.”
Both players have found individual success since splitting that summer, but James was also able win a title with the Lakers in 2020. Irving has bounced around since leaving Cleveland, making a brief stop in Boston before ending up in Brooklyn in 2019. He has not made a conference finals appearance since leaving the Cavaliers.
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