Kyrie Irving says Cavs didn’t ‘hand me the keys there’
Kyrie Irving infamously requested a trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers last offseason after being tired of being under the shadow of their homegrown star LeBron James. The now-Boston Celtics point guard recently reflected on what sparked his desire to seek his way out of Cleveland and the growth he’s experienced after his lone season with the Celtics.
“Nah, I was just a great piece, a great piece. They weren’t giving me the keys to the franchise,” said Irving, reflecting back to his relationship with the team upon LeBron James’ first departure from Cleveland, according to Steve Bullpett of The Boston Herald. “They weren’t. I was too young, man. I didn’t deserve them. But after a while I felt like I earned it, and I took a lot of that responsibility on myself. (I) still wasn’t ready to do it, but learned a lot from that point to be at this position now. “
Irving has assumed the role of leader of this team since coming on board last year, relishing the power and the responsibility that comes with that title. Irving credited James as a good example to follow in his quest to find his own voice as a leader.
“Whether it was lieutenant, sergeant or whatever you want to call it with LeBron, being around him with basketball knowledge and all of the other veterans was something we needed,” added Irving, according to Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald.
His teammates Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Gordon Hayward are still figuring out the kinks of where they fit between the shooting guard and power forward positions, and Irving will play a part on that decision, eager to help them figure it out before the start of the season.
Irving missed the Celtics’ postseason earlier this year after undergoing surgery to remove debris from his knee. If he makes it to the end of the road with this core, a lot of the decision-making on the floor and resilience in the locker room will be up to him to manage, finally giving him the role and control he’s so badly wanted during his young career.