In an attempt to dissuade management from trading Kyrie Irving, LeBron James said he made a phone call requesting the Cavaliers keep the All-Star point guard.
“I just felt like it was bad for our franchise to be able to trade away our superstar point guard,” James told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols. “Obviously, I wasn’t a part of the communications to know what exactly went on between the two sides, but I just felt like it was bad timing for our team to get rid of our point guard in Kyrie Irving.”
Irving reportedly requested a trade in July after word that the front office was discussing his future trickled back to him in June. Despite James’s wishes, the Cavaliers traded Irving to the Boston Celtics in August. James said Irving’s departure was the start of a tumultuous period for the team.
“I felt like the odds were against us from the summer,” he said. “We come into the season, and our All-Star point guard that we got from Boston [Isaiah Thomas] wasn’t able to play until January. We just had so many things going with our team. We shuffled in different lineups, we shuffled in different players, we made a trade at the deadline. and I can’t sit here right now and say that the Finals was a part of my thinking. It was not.”
Though things initially didn’t seem to be in the Cavs’ favor, James advanced to his eighth straight NBA Finals after besting the Celtics in a seven-game series.
Irving was sidelined for the entirety of Boston’s playoff run, as he was recovering from a second knee surgery.