As the Cleveland Cavaliers prepare to face Kyrie Irving for the second time this season, new details have emerged about the trade that sent their former 4-time All-Star to the Boston Celtics.
For the first time since requesting a trade from the Cavs last summer, Irving discussed his desire to move on from Cleveland in a piece with ESPN.com's Jackie MacMullan, which was released on Wednesday. In the article, Irving reveals that he believed an eventual exit from Cleveland was inevitable, stating of his former team: "They didn't want me there."
The biggest reason Irving believes that appears to be the Cavs' apparent interest in dealing him before he had even requested a trade himself. According to MacMullan, former Cleveland general manager David Griffin had been negotiating a three-team trade, which would have landed the Cavs Paul George and Eric Bledsoe, but that the would-be blockbuster deal eventually fell apart.
A few weeks later, Irving, convinced LeBron James' camp had attempted to orchestrate the failed trade, asked Cavs owner Dan Gilbert to be dealt. James, for his part, denied the allegation that he wanted his team to trade Irving, telling ESPN in his only comment in the article, "That makes absolutely no sense."
Also of note from MacMullan's deep dive into Irving's Cleveland exit and Boston beginning is that when weighing whether or not to trade the All-Star guard to an Eastern Conference rival, Gilbert asked James for a commitment beyond 2018 -- which he failed to receive.
But regardless of the Cavs' future with James or past with Irving, their present remains in Boston, where they'll face the Celtics at 8 p.m. ET on Wednesday night in a nationally televised game on ESPN.