Kyrie Irving
Kyrie Irving joined the Boston Celtics in August 2017 via a trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers. In this picture, Irving #11 of the Boston Celtics looks on during the game between the Boston Celtics and the New York Knicks at TD Garden on December 6, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Kyrie Irving’s trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers to the Boston Celtics in 2017 came as a shock to many including his former teammates, who at that time just a few months prior had been dethroned as the reigning NBA champions by the Golden State Warriors.

The Celtics point played a key role in helping the Cavaliers beat the Warriors and win the championship in 2016, but he requested the trade after their loss to the same opponents in 2017. And his former employers sanctioning it was a bigger shock considering he was the second best player on the team behind talisman LeBron James.

Many were quick to assume, then and today, that the reason Irving requested the trade was due to a falling out with James and that he finally decided to get out of the shadow of the three-time NBA champion. A number of people close to the team and the duo have disputed a falling out stating that he simply wanted to lead a team of his own.

Richard Jefferson, a former teammate of Irving and James, has given a new perspective on why the trade was demanded and then sanctioned without too much of a fuss. And it has nothing to do with a fallout between the two players.

The 38-year-old, now retired basketball player, has revealed that it was the Cavaliers’ actions after their five-game loss in the 2017 final that pushed Irving to demand a trade. The team were said to have blamed Irving for the finals loss to the Warriors and put him on the trade block much before his actual trade to the Celtics in August.

“We were all very confused, he led us in shot attempts and took the game winning shot in Game 7 [in 2016],” Jefferson said told Stephen A Smith on “Get Up”. “The reason why was because there was a trade and Kyrie believed ‘oh wait you guys want to make me the villain, you guys want to say that I need to be traded’ that’s why he wanted to leave.”

Once he found out that he was on the trade block and a trade almost went through – once he found that out – he was like I am gone,” the former Cavaliers small forward added.

The trade talks between the Cavaliers were said to have been with the Phoenix Suns, while the Indiana Pacers were also involved with players and a draft pick discussed. John Lloyd of The Athletic gave insight into the details of the failed trade deal for Irving.

"The Cavs were “close” to sending Irving to Phoenix in a three-team trade that also included the Indiana Pacers, multiple sources with knowledge of the deal told The Athletic . Under the proposed trade, Paul George and Eric Bledsoe would come to Cleveland, Irving and Channing Frye were headed to Phoenix and the Pacers would’ve received the No. 4 pick in the draft along with Iman Shumpert and Jared Dudley,” Lloyd said, as quoted on 247 Sports.

It is believed that the only reason the aforementioned trade did not go through, was because Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert fired general manager David Griffin and executive Trent Redden with two weeks left on their contract in June 2017.