Sports

Kyrie Irving’s Teammates Support Cavs Exit, Even if LeBron James Doesn't

James and Irving
LeBron James, left, and Kyrie Irving at TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts, May 25. Elsa/Getty

Cavaliers veteran Richard Jefferson has supported Kyrie Irving after the point guard reportedly requested a trade away from Cleveland.

On Friday, news of Kyrie’s talks with the Cavs leaked out of Cleveland, with reports that the point guard had asked for a trade this summer.

Speaking on his “Road Trippin’” podcast Monday, Jefferson said it was understandable that Irving would be seeking a move after a summer of change with the Cavaliers.

“I think Kyrie is a hyper-intelligent kid,” Jefferson said on his “ Road Trippin’” podcast Monday. “Really, really smart. Doesn't get enough credit for how smart he is, and I think seeing that the franchise is in flux, I think seeing [David Griffin] leave and the amount of coaches ... I think Kyrie has had a much tougher time in this stretch of the organization than anyone ever wants to ever really fully [recognize].”

“He's the No. 1 pick right after LeBron [James left for Miami in 2010], then he has three different coaches, then LeBron comes back, now there's trade rumors, now it's 'LeBron's leaving.' It's like at some point in time, anybody would want some sort of stability.”

Irving’s trade request was complicated further on Monday when reports suggested that the 25-year-old believed James was the one who leaked the news.

Related: Did LeBron James Leak Kyrie Irving’s Cavs Trade Request? He Thinks So

The San Antonio Spurs, Miami Heat, Minnesota Timberwolves and New York Knicks are among the teams that Irving reportedly could join, but the leaking of the trade request will make any move more complicated.

Irving is a four-time NBA All-Star and was part of the Cavs team that took Cleveland to three successive NBA Finals, winning the championship in 2016. But despite this success, summer in Cleveland has been turbulent.

After Dan Gilbert fired Griffin as General Manager, Cavs has only made a couple of additions to strengthen its squad. Veteran point guard José Calderón and wing Jeff Green traded to Cavs, but it missed out on Gordon Hayward.

A little stability may have been offered this week as Gilbert finally appointed a successor to Griffin, with Koby Altman being promoted to GM. Whether it will be enough to change Irving’s mind, remains uncertain—as much does in Cleveland.