LeBron James, Kevin Love open up on Kyrie Irving trade saga

INDEPENDENCE, OHIO– Cavaliers’ media day on Monday offered a chance for LeBron James and Kevin Love to open up on the Kyrie Irving trade saga.

James said he went through a ton of different emotions when he first heard news of Irving’s trade request. His first thoughts were wondering if there was something James could have done to make Irving want to stay in Cleveland.

“I was wondering whether it was something I could have done better to make him not want to be traded,” James said. “Is it the way that the season finished? Or was it me coming back in the first place? Was it the coaching changes or the GM change, or– I don’t know, I had so many different emotions go through my head.”

“I tried to do whatever I could do to help the kid out, be the best player he could be — try to help him be a better leader, a better scorer, a better floor general, a better defender, a better passer, getting guys involved, a better leader vocally,” he continued. “I tried to give him everything and give him as much of the DNA as I could. Because, like I told you guys throughout the season, at some point, when he was ready to take over the keys, I was ready to give them to him.

“The only thing I’m upset about is that he took a lot of the DNA and blueprints now to Boston. That’s the only thing I’m upset about, really. Other than that, I mean, I wish the kid great health. The kid wanted to do what was best for his career and I give credit to our GM Koby [Altman] and to the ownership for granting that for him.”

Despite all the emotions, James said he did reach out to Irving directly when he learned to the trade request, because he initially heard the information from “a third or fourth party.”

“I reached out to him because I just wanted to get a little insight on why he felt like he wanted to move on,” James said. “He basically just let me know that that was the direction that he wanted to go in. And I was OK with that. And it’s a business. I understand that. It doesn’t stop me from leading this franchise and leading this team and going on about it.

“But I definitely wanted to just go right to him and ask him and he clarified it for me so I was at ease.”

While James answered multiple questions about the ordeal, Love also opened up during his availability.

Love said he didn’t remember who he initially heard the news from, but he guessed Channing Frye, as he jokingly said Frye is on social media “more than anybody I’ve met in my entire life.”

“I think it was evident that Kyrie was eager for a change, and to be the Kyrie Irving I guess he always knew he could be,” Love said.

“So for me, as far as it being a surprise I don’t know. I wouldn’t say I was too surprised other than the fact that we had a great friendship, a great camaraderie, but you never know what’s going on in somebody’s head.”

While the summer saga of Irving’s trade will be left behind with the start of the training camp, Irving will make his return to Cleveland on the opening night of the regular season on Oct. 17.

We can all only guess what emotions will arise when that game rolls around.

About the Author

Ashley Bastock

Ashley is a former basketball player who covers the Cleveland Cavaliers, Indians and high school sports for NEO Sports Insiders. She also covers women’s basketball for SB Nation’s Swish Appeal. Ashley is a 2015 graduate of John Carroll University and previously worked in political journalism. You can follow her on Twitter @AshleyBastock42

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