After asking for a trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers in July, Kyrie Irving remained publicly silent for more than a month until his wish was ultimately granted.
On Monday, Irving appeared on ESPN's "First Take," where he gave his most revealing interview since the blockbuster August deal that sent the 4-time All-Star to the Boston Celtics. Among the topics Irving covered with hosts Stephen A. Smith and Max Kellerman was the report that the 25-year-old didn't personally inform Cavs star LeBron James of his trade request.
Asked by Smith if he spoke to James before asking Cleveland for a trade, Irving confirmed he didn't, with a simple "no." When asked why not, Irving replied: "why would I have to?"
Asked if he cared that James took Irving's trade request personally, as Smith had previously reported, Irving again simply said, "no," before adding, "I don't think you owe anything to another person in terms of figuring out what you want to do with your life. It's not anything personal. I'm not here to tirade anybody or go at one particular person or the organization because I have nothing but love for Cleveland. I have nothing but love for the time that I spent there. There's nothing about that. There's a time where you mature as an individual. It was time to make that decision. There is no looking back from that standpoint.
The rocky relationship between the now-former Cavs teammates had been at the center of Irving's trade request, with ESPN reporting he had asked for a deal in part because he had grown "tired of being Robin to James' Batman." On Friday, one of Irving's close friends, Cleveland guard Iman Shumpert, echoed that sentiment, telling Complex News' "Every Day Struggle" that "we all kinda knew about certain things about this team that was tough," in regards to James and Irving's on-court fit.
In August, the Cavs obliged Irving's trade request, sending him to Boston in exchange for All-Star guard Isaiah Thomas, forward Jae Crowder, center Ante Zizic, the Brooklyn Nets' 2018 first-round pick and an additional second-round pick from the Miami Heat.
And while Irving hasn't seemed to have had much recent interaction with James, he won't have to wait long for his next encounter with his former teammate. Cleveland will host the Celtics on Oct. 17 in the opening game for both teams in the 2017-18 NBA season.