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The Boston Celtics held their much-anticipated press conference to introduce Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward on Friday.

Seemingly every question for Irving hinted at the elephant in the room: What happened that made him want to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers and how did LeBron James play a role in that?

After all, Irving could have very easily played out this season alongside one of the greatest players of all-time but instead chose to request a trade, leading to his trade to Boston.

Ever careful with his words, Irving skillfully danced around the subject of James until explicitly asked about his relationship with the four-time MVP towards the end, ultimately taking the high road with his praise of James and their shared time in Cleveland.

"No, I haven't spoken to him," Irving said. "My intent [with the trade request], like I said, was for my best intentions and to look back at the amount of ground we covered in our last three-year span, or even before that because we had a prior relationship, and to really realize how special that was and how much growth 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.

"The perfection of the craft comes in a variety of forms and you watch and you watch and you ask a lot of the great players, 'What does it take to be great?' And I've had the unique opportunity to play with one of the greats. And it was awesome."

"At times, it was all over, just like it is with any other team. When you look back, you're eternally grateful for the moments that you've had and shared, you're able to put peace with that journey and start a new."

Irving went further into what he described as a "very, very challenging decision at first" to request a trade, but finished by expressing his appreciation for Cleveland and "also Bron for incorporating me into that special team in we had in Cleveland."

"Because, I mean, three Finals in a row," Irving said with a smile, "all the shared memories, all the individuals with T-Top, Swish... I could go down the line with all the guys I played with in Cleveland, but they all know how I feel about them individually as well as the love we have for one another. The Brotherhood exists even without all this, and it will continue."

While that answer ended the presser, Irving was peppered with Cleveland-related questions throughout. However, one question about his new leadership role in Boston while taking over for Isaiah Thomas may have provided some insight into his thoughts on James and the superstar's hold on the Cavaliers' team.



The Celtics and Cavaliers open the season against one another on Oct. 17 at Quicken Loans Arena. It will be both Irving's first game as a Celtic and his first as a visiting player in Cleveland.


Photos: Gregory Shamus/Getty (Top), Omar Rawlings/Getty (Bottom)

Follow Steven Tydings on Twitter @StevenTydings

Steven Tydings 9/02/2017 12:30:00 AM Edit
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