Star point guard Kyrie Irving, now of the Mavericks, said he heard LeBron James‘ comments that indicated he wanted Irving to be traded to the Lakers.
Instead, the Nets sent Irving to Dallas, and that is where he intends to place his entire focus, he said.
For the record, Irving practiced with his new team for the first time Tuesday. He is expected to join resident star Luka Doncic for Wednesday’s home game vs. the Clippers.
“I think you heard in (James’) interview, as much as the ‘what-ifs’ I would love to focus on and cherish, what could have been and what should be, I have to shift my focus to what we have going on here,” Irving said when asked about James wanting to reunite with him in LA, via Dalton Trigg of SI.com.
“That’s what brings me peace: taking care of what I can control in here, really embracing my teammates and being one of the leaders on the team along with the coaching staff and the front office. Just exemplifying what greatness looks like, and that’s just worrying about the work, chopping wood, carrying water … just growing as a human being.”
Interestingly, Irving requested a trade from the Cavaliers in 2017, before his most-recent request with the Nets. It was believed that Irving’s request in Cleveland had something to do with not wanting to play alongside James. The two had won a title together with the Cavs in 2016.
“Me and Bron have grown as human beings. He’s always going to be my brother, I’m always going to have great things to say about him and his family, but my focus is (with the Mavs.”
As Trigg mentioned, Irving is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. Only the Mavericks could offer him the maximum contract.
As for the Nets, Irving implied he did everything he could while there.
“It’s water under the bridge now. I wish them well,” he said, via Callie Caplan of the Dallas Morning News. “I left them in fourth place. I did what I was supposed to do, took care of my teammates, was incredibly selfless in my approach to leading.”
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