Richard Jefferson says he understands Kyrie Irving’s trade request
Cleveland Cavaliers forward Richard Jefferson said that Kyrie Irving’s search for a more stable situation by requesting a trade is understandable considering the state of the Cavs’ franchise.
"I think Kyrie is a hyper-intelligent kid," Jefferson said on the latest episode of his "Road Trippin’" podcast, released 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 (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 is actually playing for his fourth head coach in Tyronn Lue in his six seasons in the league, having already been reared by Byron Scott, Mike Brown and David Blatt. In that relatively short amount of time, the Cavs have also cycled through three general managers, going from Chris Grant to Griffin to the 34-year-old Koby Altman who is expected to be officially named the team’s new GM, after serving in an interim basis following Griffin’s departure in late June.
Jefferson, whose podcast is hosted on LeBron James’ "Uninterrupted" multimedia platform, took exception to Irving’s trade request being fueled by any sort of fued with James.
"I don’t think that there’s a power struggle, like with LeBron and Kyrie and (Kevin Love)," Jefferson said.
Jefferson, who announced on his podcast last month that he would be returning to the Cavs for a 17th season next year, pointed out that James and Irving have even opened up about their mutual admiration on past episodes of the podcast.
"I think Kyrie knows how important he is to our team," Jefferson said. "LeBron knows how important he is. He has been on this podcast. They have been on this podcast together multiple times together where ‘Bron was like, ‘Dude, this is my guy, I need him. He is so important to me, my kids love him.’ And again, just like any family there are ups and downs, there are moments that you hate them, moments that you love them and then you just kind of keep it moving."
Jefferson recorded the podcast as the news of Irving’s request broke last Friday. After sharing his initial thoughts, he opted to keep the conversation moving away from the latest round of Cavs drama. Jefferson said he wanted to enjoy the Corona he was drinking and get back to his discussion with podcast guest Lindsey Vonn, who is preparing for what could be her final Winter Olympics in February 2018.