When frustrated superstar point guard Kyrie Irving requested a trade from the Cleveland Cavaliers, he reportedly gave Damian Lillard and John Wall as examples of players with the kind of team situations he would prefer. Drafted No. 1 overall in 2011, Irving was Cleveland’s hope for a bright future in the wake of The Decision, but took a backseat to LeBron James when he returned to Cleveland in 2014. It now seems that he wants to be the face of a franchise once again, stepping out of James’ shadow and finding career stability in a new city.
Lillard joined SI Now for a quick conversation about his thoughts on Irving and the whole situation with Cleveland. As expected, he sees yearly trips to the NBA Finals as a positive, but made a point to state that he is not in Irving’s situation and cannot speak to what it is like playing with James.
Damian Lillard can't see why someone wouldn't want to play with LeBron James pic.twitter.com/05B628GZBT— The Crossover (@TheCrossover) July 24, 2017
After Kyrie Irving reportedly asked for a trade, really, you and John Wall were the examples that Kyrie reportedly told the front office that he would like to be; he would like to have a situation like yours. So, I’m just curious of your point of view, Dame, is your situation better than what Kyrie has in Cleveland? You know what it’s like to be the face of a team. Is that a better situation?
It’s a lot of hard work, but I’m not even sure that that’s true, but, I mean, who wouldn’t want to go to the Finals every year? I think they been to the Finals the last three years, so I would love to do that.
Let me ask you a question this way, if LeBron was on your team, would you ever ask for a trade?
I don’t know because I have never played with LeBron, but just watching from the outside, you see how easy he makes the game for everybody else. I’m not sure what it’s like playing with LeBron the person, but the player—I don’t see why anybody wouldn’t want to play with him.
Irving’s preferred trade destinations are reportedly Minnesota, Miami, New York, and San Antonio, where he would have a real opportunity to make a difference with a strong supporting cast for years to come, without fear of impending dissolution.