Latest posts by Ashish Mathur (see all)
- Nuggets’ Thomas joins Hart to talk Celtics, Cavs - September 11, 2018
- Sources: Celtics’ Irving, Hayward ‘look impressive’ in pickup play - September 7, 2018
- Scott wants to patch things up with Kidd - September 7, 2018
Before LeBron James decided to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the summer of 2014, Kyrie Irving had Gordon Hayward, Trevor Ariza and Channing Frye committed to signing with the team — according to former general manager David Griffin.
Once James made it known he was coming back home, Hayward, Ariza and Frye were no longer in the Cavs’ plans, as Cleveland needed the cap space to pay James the max contract he commands.
Didn’t see this anywhere
— Jack McCurry (@JMcCurryCLE) July 28, 2018
By now, everyone knows Irving never wanted James to come to the Cavs in 2014. The Athletic’s Jason Lloyd described Irving’s feelings on a podcast in early July.
“It has been made clear to me by multiple people, Kyrie never really wanted LeBron to come back [to Cleveland] in the first place,” Lloyd said on 92.3 The Fan in Cleveland. “He didn’t think it was necessary. LeBron said something to Kyrie on the court following a game when he was with Miami something to the effect of, ‘Keep going, keep doing what you’re doing. You never know, I could be back here one day.’ And Kyrie basically said, ‘What’s he talking about, we don’t need him.’ ”
During their time together, James and Irving were a dominant dynamic duo. The Cavs made it to three straight Finals while Irving and James were teammates, winning it all in 2016 and becoming the first team in NBA history to erase a 3-1 series deficit in the Finals.
Irving, however, requested a trade in the summer of 2017 and was sent to the Boston Celtics. Irving got tired of living in the shadow of James and wanted to go play in a situation where he could be more of a focal point on offense.
If James never came back to Cleveland and Hayward, Ariza and Frye signed with the Cavs, the team would have also kept Andrew Wiggins, who was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Kevin Love after James signed with the Cavs.
That team would have been fun to watch, but they wouldn’t have been championship contenders. It’s safe to say all of Cleveland is glad James came back and delivered a championship to the city — no matter how it made Irving feel.