Kyrie Irving was introduced as a member of the Boston Celtics today, and acknowledged that he hasn’t spoken to LeBron James since requesting a trade:
"I haven't spoken to [James] and my intent [in asking for a trade], like I said, was for my best intentions," Irving said. "To look back at the amount of ground we covered in the last three-year span ... to really realize how special that was and how much stuff happened in that amount of time, I'd be sitting up here and telling you guys a lie if I didn't tell you I learned so much from that guy.”
Irving cited that his move to the Celtics was functionally what was reported. He wants to expand his own personal game, and felt like somewhere other than Cleveland was the place to do so:
"It was my time to do what was best for me in terms of my intentions and that's going after something bigger than myself and obviously being in an environment that's conducive for my potential," Irving said. "I think that statement is self explanatory, because it's pretty direct in terms of what my intent is, and that's to be happy and be with a group of individuals that I can grow with."
Irving oddly suggested that his leaving “wasn’t about basketball,” but indicated again that he wanted to see what he could accomplish with a different group of players while still giving credit to his teammates in Cleveland:
"This was a very very challenging decision at first, but after a while when you understand and you have that confidence in yourself to understand the magnitude of what you actually can accomplish and potentially what you can do with other great people," Irving said. "And now that I'm sitting here. It just echoes in terms of me just being very appreciative of not only the Cleveland fans, all of Ohio, but as well as Bron for incorporating me into that special team that we had in Cleveland.
"Because, I mean, three Finals in a row, all the shared memories, all the individuals, from T-Top (Tristan Thompson), Swish (J.R. Smith), I could go down the line with guys I played with in Cleveland.
"But, they all know how I feel about them individually as well as the love that we have for one another. The brotherhood exists even without all this, and will continue. So, that's exactly where it is. And I'm very appreciative of it."
This was a classic Kyrie presser. He spoke in riddles, stayed mostly very vague in what he had to say while making sure to credit those that helped him arrive where he is.
Still, he made it clear that this was the future he wanted, and he was happy to be elsewhere. The fact that he hasn’t talked with LeBron just yet is certainly interesting, as you’d think he would have had some communication with the best player on the team he was requesting a trade from. But this is hardly stunning.
If Irving’s request truly was to get away from James and forge his own path, it’s hard to see what kind of dialogue could really come of that. If James wanted to get in contact with Irving or vice versa, it’s hard to imagine it would’ve been too hard to do so.
Alas, this is a relationship that appears to be fractured, though James made sure to publicly shout out Irving for what he did accomplish in Cleveland the day the trade was originally announced.
James was reportedly blindsided by the trade request, but he at least is publicly putting a positive face on his relationship with Kyrie. James still hasn’t welcomed Isaiah Thomas to the team, which is interesting, but is probably coming soon.
It’ll be interesting to see how this relationship plays out moving forward. The consistent comparison between Irving and James’ relationship has been between Kobe and Shaq, but there hasn’t been nearly the same level of public acrimony between the two.
We’ll see if it escalates. But as of now, both sides are playing it straight.