Irving had Hayward, Ariza, Frye committed to Cavs before James returned

Kyrie Irving and LeBron James were teammates for three seasons.

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.

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.

2 Comments on "Irving had Hayward, Ariza, Frye committed to Cavs before James returned"

  1. A moot point. Kyrie foolishly left Cleveland knowing it would be his team in less than a year with the potential of winning another ship. Ended up Kyrie was a none-entity in this past year’s playoff run. On the bench and some times even away from the team during games.

    With the young players in Boston doing so well in the playoffs this past season, now Boston may have created a potential James Harden situation. Where are they going to play all those wing players when the supposed main guys get healthy? There may be some hurt feelings if some guys that were starters are relegated to the end of the bench after almost getting into the finals. Boston should be a very interesting team to follow this season.

  2. And the Jazz match the Hayward offer.

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