Former NBA star Richard Jefferson has shed some new light on the Kyrie Irving trade that shook the NBA last year.
The point guard sent shockwaves through the league when he asked to be traded from the Cleveland Cavaliers, ultimately ending up with the Boston Celtics, a team with which he will look to win another title now that he's out of LeBron James' shadow again.
Jefferson, now a basketball analyst, spent two years in Cleveland and won an NBA championship with the side in 2016. And the former small forward has now put some fresh information out there regarding Kyrie's trade.
The former player was a recent guest on ESPN's Get Up and was put on the spot by Stephen A. Smith, who demanded to know what went on behind the scenes. Jefferson initially claimed to have no idea but was prompted into revealing that Cavs owner Dan Gilbert had actually placed Irving on the trading block after the team fell 5-1 to the Golden State Warriors in the 2017 finals and blamed him for their failure to win another ring.
The proposed trade did not work out but Irving insisted that he did not want to stay anyway.
You could listen to Jefferson's explanation in the clip below, but there's also a bit from Jason Lloyd of The Athletic from last August.
"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," Lloyd wrote. "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.
"Instead, Griffin and Redden were sent away with less than two weeks remaining on their contracts and the deal ultimately disintegrated. The Cavs tried to restart trade talks for George by pulling in the Denver Nuggets and using Kevin Love as bait instead of Irving, but the Pacers shot the deal dead after the Cavs thought it was done."
What This Means
Gilbert's firing of general manager David Griffin and executive Trent Redden saw to it that the deal did not go through. And the Cavs had to settle for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, and Ante Zizic.
Jefferson's version of events makes a bit more sense, especially as there was hardly any friction between Kyrie and LeBron. However, the lure of leading his own team again could have been a motivator for the point guard too.