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Celtics news: Kyrie Irving says leaving Cleveland wasn’t about basketball

During his introductory press conference with the Boston Celtics, Kyrie Irving made on thing clear — leaving Cleveland wasn’t about basketball.

“It was my time to do what was best for me… (Time) to be in an environment conducive to my potential,” Irving said, per Michael Singer of USA TODAY Sports.

Irving’s trade took an entire week to pull off to its entirety, but ultimately ended up getting finalized on Wednesday night, making it finally official.

His trade request came as a huge surprise, given the sudden change after being LeBron James’ sidekick for three seasons, noting he wanted to run his own team instead of being in the shadow of James. But Irving noted his departure wasn’t a particular discontent with the franchise or the city, but rather a chance to grow into the player he can be.

“My intent is to be happy and with a group of individuals I can grow with… that’s not meant as a knock on Cleveland,” Irving said, according to Brian Robb of Boston Sports Journal.

The 25-year-old will now partner up with recent-arrival Gordon Hayward and craft this team that now only has one returning starter from last season in Al Horford.

While many have questioned if his decision was the smartest or the best for his career, it was clear that it was ultimately the one Irving wanted, now having the opportunity to be the face of a franchise moving forward.