Irving on keeping trade demand from LeBron: 'Not anything personal'

Portland Trail Blazers' C.J. Mc Collum handles the ball during an NBA basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks in Dallas Tuesday Feb. 7 2017

Celtics have openings in starting lineup

When Kyrie Irving was introduced to the Boston media a little more than two weeks ago, he was asked often about why he sought to be traded away from the Cleveland Cavaliers and star teammate LeBron James. "Youknow, understanding what the magnitude of the moment was". "I think how ironic it was that I was on my China trip and how my trade rumors all of a sudden just came out publicly". I wasn't going to allow anything else to get of our team's success.

"So now you take that same formula that I had the unique opportunity of being a part of and observing every single day, and you apply that to another cultural environment that has a culture that's existed for years, and now you try to put your imprint on it", he said. He also appeared to indicate that he wasn't being challenged by the coaching staff.

Asked if he let James know that he was seeking to leave, Irving said, "Why would I have to?" "Have that demand from a franchise that would propel me to exceed in my potential - seeing how far I can go".

Smith asked the point guard if he had spoken to James before deciding to ask the Cavs for a trade during the offseason.

Smith responded: "If you don't speak to somebody, they might take it personally".

Irving agreed it was a decision that was percolating for a while and he didn't want to be a distraction for the team during the Finals. It's pointing to the perspective that I know exactly what I want. From that standpoint, that was the way I was raised. "There were times after games when I would go out and shoot". It's a theme he addressed when he was introduced in Boston and in a video he posted thanking the city of Cleveland. "I have nothing but love for the times that I spent there", he said.

Smith: I'm not implying that you have to at all.

Irving, 25, was drafted by the Cavaliers with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 draft, when James was still a member of the Miami Heat.

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