New Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving admitted that he hasn’t spoken to former Cleveland Cavaliers teammate LeBron James since he was traded. However, their lack of communication did not stop Irving from praising James, calling the opportunity to play alongside him “awesome”, but stressed that his decision to ask for a trade was to get a chance to find out what more he can accomplish. "I haven't spoken to James, and my intent in asking for a trade, like I said, was for my best intentions," said Irving during a press conference where he was introduced together with Gordon Hayward.

Irving added that he learned "so much" from playing alongside James for three years.

One year after James left Cleveland for the Miami Heat in 2010, the Cavaliers took Irving as the No. 1 overall pick. From a 19-63 record in 2010, Irving helped the Cavaliers slowly recover, garnering a 21-45 record in the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season where he also won the Rookie of the Year trophy. The Cavaliers tallied a 24-58 mark the following year and a 33-49 record during the 2013-14 season. When James returned in 2014, the Cavaliers made it to the NBA Finals and won the championship the following season. Last season, they lost to the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals in five games.

Irving wanted to become his own man

However, Irving wanted to become his own man and step out of James shadow. On July 7, he asked Cavs team owner Dan Gilbert for a trade. After weeks of finding Irving an ideal destination, they reached an agreement with the Celtics, who initially agreed to ship Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 unprotected first-round pick.

The trade hit a snag after the Cavaliers raised concerns about Thomas’ injured hip that he suffered during the regular season. Thomas’ hip injury resurfaced during their semifinal series against the Washington Wizards. He played the first two games of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Cavaliers but he missed the next three games.

The deal was finalized when the Celtics added a 2020 second-round pick into the package.

Irving now Celtics’ go-to guy

Now that he got his wish, Irving must prove that he can become the No. 1 option of a team loaded with other talents like Gordon Hayward and Al Horford. Some executives doubted Irving’s ability to emerge as a franchise player due to his lack of defense and for being offensive-minded. The Cavaliers, for their part, will remain a strong contender in the East, with James leading the way. The new rivalry will begin Oct. 17 when the Celtics and Cavaliers begin the season against each other at Quicken Loans Arena.