Every game between the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers will be big because they’re two of the top teams in the Eastern Conference. But added to that equation this year is the now-rivalry between LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. Irving famously requested a trade out of Cleveland, and the Cavs responded by moving them to their conference rival in a move that netted them Isaiah Thomas.
While the move, and even IT’s rehab, is old news now, it’s still something that isn’t fully understood by many in the NBA. And on Wednesday, ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan wrote a long piece about Kyrie Irving that explores why he wanted out of Cleveland, zeroing in on his competitive drive and the reasons he felt slighted playing with LeBron James there. It’s the most both have talked about the trade yet, though LeBron is still pretty reticent about the whole thing.
But what Irving admits is that he basically didn’t feel wanted by Cleveland after word came out about a potential trade that would have sent him away from Lake Erie. Essentially, Kyrie’s team believes something that was reported over the summer: that LeBron’s people, notably agent Rich Paul, tried to move Irving out of town in a three-team trade with Phoenix and the Pacers that would have got the Cavs both Paul George and Eric Bledsoe.