Kyrie Irving's trade request from the Cleveland Cavaliers this past offseason sent shockwaves throughout the entire NBA, as no one could've predicted that the starting All-Star point guard for a team that just went to the Finals would want out of a situation like that.
Regardless of other people's opinions though, Irving was granted his trade request, and was promptly shipped out of Cleveland to Boston before the season started in exchange for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and Brooklyn's 2018 first round draft pick.
Many theorized that Kyrie was unhappy playing alongside LeBron James the season prior, and even though he never explicitly said it, Kyrie confirmed these theories when he said he wanted to be the leader on a team of his own.
But a recent interview, former Cavaliers' coach David Blatt explained just how long Kyrie had been feeling this way for.
Blatt was interviewed by Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald, and was asked about Irving’s trade request from Cleveland this summer, and according to Blatt, Kyrie's unhappiness with his situation started all the way back in 2015.
“I can still remember Kyrie telling me, ‘I want to come to the game and be happy, and I don’t feel that way,’” Blatt said last week, relating that old conversation. “It tells you the importance of feeling this way to Ky. He wants to be happy, and I think that’s working for him now.”
These comments just prove how long Kyrie was mulling over his trade request to see if things changed in Cleveland. If Irving had been feeling unhappy all the way back in 2015, it means he was thinking about a move to another team for at least 2 years, in that time hitting the most important shot in Cavaliers history in Game 7 of the NBA Finals in 2016.
Blatt was obviously unfazed by the trade request due to prior knowledge, but did tell Murphy that he thought Irving was extremely brave to request a trade from his situation.
“The first thing that hit me about it was that Kyrie made a very profound statement about himself when he requested a trade,” Blatt said. “It’s a situation that hasn’t been easily interpreted by everyone. It was brave, and it’s one of those things that makes him a special kid.”
In these terms, Blatt is calling Irving brave due to how his career may have panned out after the trade. Kyrie could've taken the easy path, having an extremely successful career playing behind LeBron James without having to do all the heavy lifting as the main focal point on offense. Instead, Irving chose to take a risk and try something new playing for a different city. What if the team he went to didn't perform as well as he'd hoped? What if he didn't perform as well as he'd hope as the star player for that team. He'd be considered one of the NBA's biggest idiots for throwing everything away.
Thankfully for him and Boston fans though, that isn't the way things turned out, and both Kyrie and LeBron are enjoying career-years for their respective teams this season, hopefully meeting each other in the playoffs at the end of the season.