Irving says trade request was about his potential, not James

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving (2), forward LeBron James (23) and center Tristan Thompson (13) react during the second half of Game 5 of basketball's NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors in Oakland, Calif., Monday, June 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

BOSTON (AP) — Kyrie Irving says his decision to ask the Cavaliers to trade him was not about LeBron James but a desire to maximize his potential.

Irving and Gordon Hayward were introduced as members the Boston Celtics on Friday, two days after the blockbuster trade was completed. Boston sent Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and two draft picks to Cleveland for Irving. Hayward signed as a free agent in July.

Irving says he hasn’t spoken to James since the trade, but is grateful for the time he spent alongside a player he called one of the game’s greats.

Hayward says he’s happy to be reunited with his college coach, Brad Stevens. Hayward adds that Stevens was the first person to make him believe an NBA career was possible. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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