Kyrie Irving Wants to Prove Himself Out of LeBron James’s Shadow, Says Ex-Cavs GM

Former Cavaliers General Manager David Griffin believes the reason behind Kyrie Irving’s trade request is his desire to discover his potential out of LeBron James’s shadow.

Last month, news broke of Irving’s meeting with the Cleveland board during which he asked for a move away from the Cavs, and a string of teams are said to be poised for a move.

Irving would not be the first important piece to leave Cleveland this summer, after Griffin was fired by Chairman Dan Gilbert at the end of the season. Now, his former general manager has shed light on why Irving may be heading for the exit.

“I see this as him looking for a fit for himself, to take the next step in his career. I think this is a guy who wants to know how good he can be. LeBron casts a very large shadow over an organization,” Griffin told ESPN.

“And most of it is really, really positive. You know you are expected to win a championship by way of example. But what that doesn’t always allow is for a player like Kyrie to test his boundaries and see how good he can really be, and can I really be the frontman of a team like that.”

Related: Did LeBron James leak Kyrie Irving’s Cavs trade request? He thinks so

Asia and Kyrie Irving Asia, left, and Kyrie Irving at Sports Illustrated 2017 Fashionable 50 Celebration at Avenue, Los Angeles, July 18. Michael Kovac/Getty

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Griffin believes that a trade will happen, but he would not speculate on where Irving would next end up playing ball. He insists that both Cleveland and Irving would benefit from the move, and praised the point guard’s approach to the situation.

“He handled the situation exactly like he was supposed to,” Griffin said. “The absolute worst thing this guy could have done was pretend to be all-in and sink the ship from within. Most guys don’t have the courage to do what he did.”

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.

In July, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith reported that Irving believed that the leak came from James—in order to prevent the move from happening. But in Griffin’s eyes no intervention will prevent Irving’s exit.