Kyrie Irving’s July trade request sent shockwaves through the NBA and may have shifted the balance of powers in the Eastern Conference to the Boston Celtics with a deal that sent Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and two draft picks to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

At Cavaliers Media Day on Monday, LeBron James said he felt "so many emotions" about losing his All-Star teammate and was baffled by Irving's trade request.

"My initial thought when I heard Kyrie wanted to be traded, I had a ton of emotions," James told reporters. "I was wondering if it was something I could have did better to make him not want to be traded. Was it me coming back in the first place?

"I tried to do whatever I could do to help the kid out, be the best player that he could be."

Irving's trade request came about six weeks after the Cavs lost to the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals. During the Irving and James era, the duo carried the Cavs to the NBA Finals three times and claimed an NBA title in 2016. 

The All-Star point guard informed team owner Dan Gilbert that he wanted to be a leader and had lost interest in playing with James, ESPN reported. The Cavs ended weeks of speculation when they completed the trade with Boston on Aug. 30.

James mostly kept his feelings about his former teammate to himself, aside from a tweet on Aug. 22 which praised the 25-year-old star.


The rift surprised many including James, who said he tried to impart wisdom to the young guard, who he hoped would be his successor.

LeBron James Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James said he felt several different emotions when he heard Kyrie Irving requested a trade. He is pictured on July 27, 2012 in London, Photo: Getty Images

"I tried to help him be a better leader, a better scorer, a better floor general, a better defender, a better passer getting guys involved, a better vocally," James said of Irving. "I tried to give him everything, and give him as much of the DNA as I could because like I told you guys throughout the season, at some point, when he was ready to take over the keys, I was ready to give them to him."

But James and Irving weren't on the same page. Irving shared his thoughts on the trade last month on ESPN’s "First Take," where he explained that he didn’t care about James' feelings about the trade.

"There comes a time where you mature as an individual," Irving said.

"It’s time to make that decision and there is no looking back from that standpoint. There is no time to figure out how to save someone’s feelings when ultimately you have to be selfish in figuring out what you want to do. It wasn’t about me not wanting to win. It wasn’t anything about that. It was, 'I want to be extremely, extremely happy in perfecting my craft,' and that was the only intent in all of this."