When news broke Friday that Kyrie Irving wanted to be traded away from the Cavaliers so he wouldn’t be under LeBron James’s shadow, it took the sports world by storm.
Now that some of the hot fuzz has died down, fellow Cavalier Richard Jefferson said he understands why Irving wants to move on, and that it’s not an insult to James nor the Cavaliers.
I think Kyrie is a hyper-intelligent kid, Jefferson said on his Road Trippin’ podcast on Monday. Really, really smart. Doesn’t get enough credit for how smart he is, and I think seeing that the franchise is in flux. I think seeing [David Griffin] leave and the amount of coaches … I think Kyrie has had a much tougher time in this stretch of the organization than anyone ever wants to ever really fully [recognize].
He’s the No. 1 pick right after LeBron [left for the Heat in 2010], then he has three different coaches, then LeBron comes back, now there’s trade rumors, now it’s ‘LeBron’s leaving.’ It’s like at some point in time, anybody would want some sort of stability.
Tyronn Lue is actually the fourth coach who Irving has been under since 2010. Before Lue, Byron Scott, Mike Brown and David Blatt all coached the team in relative short succession.
In just the past month, the Cavaliers lost the NBA title and Griffin parted ways with the team. Now Cleveland has promoted Koby Altman, who was an assistant under Griffin, to general manager.
I think Kyrie knows how important he is to our team, Jefferson said. LeBron knows how important he is. He has been on this podcast. They have been on this podcast together multiple times together where ‘Bron was like, ‘Dude, this is my guy, I need him. He is so important to me, my kids love him.’
And again, just like any family there are ups and downs, there are moments that you hate them, moments that you love them, and then you just kind of keep it moving.