Cavaliers guard Iman Shumpert said he and his teammates were not surprised Kyrie Irving asked to be traded, but lamented that players and fans twisted in the wind for the month between the All-Star’s request and departure to Boston.
“We all knew certain things about this team that’s tough,” Shumpert told Complex News’ “Everyday Struggle” in a wide-ranging interview.
“I don’t know how it was leaked, on whose side or whatever,” Shumpert said. “We wished it could’ve been ‘this trade happened. Boom, that’s it.'”
Word broke in late July that Irving asked to be dealt, seeking to be the focal point of his own team rather than continuing to play alongside and in the shadow of LeBron James.
Irving’s trade to Boston for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and two draft picks was announced Aug. 22 and completed Aug. 31.
Shumpert said Irving’s request wasn’t “just a Kyrie-LeBron” thing and suggested Irving did not want out because of some personal animosity on either side.
“(People say) it’s LeBron and Kyrie hate each other,” Shumpert said. “No, it’s two dudes that need the ball. LeBron needs the ball, Kyrie needs the ball, Kevin (Love) needs the ball. Swish (J.R. Smith) can’t shoot unless he has the ball. Kyle Korver can’t shoot unless he has the ball.”
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