BOSTON: Kyrie Irving, who requested a trade out of Cleveland in July, said Friday (Saturday in Manila) that he hasn’t spoken to LeBron James since he joined the Boston Celtics.
But the four-time NBA all-star Irving said there are no bad feelings and that the reason he wanted to end his partnership with the James-led Cavaliers was so he could optimize his game.
“I can’t wait to get on the floor and maximize my potential,” Irving at an introductory news conference at the Boston Garden arena on Friday.
“I just want to be around those incredible coaches and those incredible minds and those incredible individuals. I feel like in doing that, Boston came right at the exact time and it was meant to be that way. I trust in that, and I’m glad to be here.”
The 25-year-old point guard praised his former superstar teammate James, describing his three seasons with James as “awesome” and told reporters that “I learned so much from that guy.”
The Celtics introduced Irving on Friday after the blockbuster trade sent Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 first-round pick and the Miami Heat’s 2020 second-round pick in exchange for Irving.
Irving was asked about his decision to leave Cleveland and the status of his relationship with James.
“I haven’t spoken to (James) and my intent (in asking for a trade), like I said, was for my best intentions,” Irving said.
“To look back at the amount of ground we covered in the last three-year span. To really realize how special that was and how much stuff happened in that amount of time, I’d be sitting up here and telling you guys a lie if I didn’t tell you I learned so much from that guy.”
Irving averaged a career-high 25.2 points on 47.3 percent shooting and 5.8 assists last season. He has three years and $60 million remaining on his contract.