Kyrie Irving's trade request from the Cleveland Cavaliers prior to last season reportedly stemmed from his unwillingness to continue teaming with LeBron James, and not wanting to be saddled with a roster catered to a player who was likely to leave in free agency.
The feeling wasn't mutual, as James wanted to continue competing alongside the All-Star point guard. However, Irving also reportedly wished to escape James' shadow and be the focal point of his own team.
"That's not my problem. If that's the case, that's definitely not my problem," James told The Athletic's Jason Lloyd on Wednesday about Irving's mindset. "I never felt like I didn’t want to play with him. The only thing I tried to do is give him whatever I could and more."
Cleveland's front office ultimately caved to Irving's demand, shipping him off to the Boston Celtics for a package centered around Isaiah Thomas, who made a grand total of 15 appearances with the Cavaliers.
While James didn't want Irving to be moved, he didn't do a great deal to mend their relationship or convince him to stick it out. In his mind, nothing he could've done would've changed Irving's mind.
"I think by the time it got to me he wanted to be traded, I think he was already gone," James added. "He was already gone and it was up to the organization to do their job and try to keep him as well. The guy still had two years left on his contract. They didn't have to give him up. It could've been repaired then.
"Bring him in, let's see what happens. I don’t think his stock drops if he still comes to Cleveland, see what happens and at the trade deadline you could still do it then."
The four-time Most Valuable Player recently admitted that Irving's departure was "the beginning of the end" for his own time with the franchise. James still managed to lead the Cavaliers to a fourth-straight Finals berth in 2017-18 without the All-Star point guard by his side, although the team was quickly disposed of by the Golden State Warriors in a clean sweep.