"I actually went to Cleveland on a visit when I was a restricted free agent (in 2014), and Kyrie came in and was saying how much fun it'd be if I was on the team and kinda recruited me to go there," Gordon Hayward said at his introductory press conference with the Celtics last August.
"And then LeBron came and that kinda squashed that whole thing."
It was a funny moment during a particualry light hearted press conference for the Celtics ushering in a new era led by Hayward and Kyrie Irving, but the story offered some insight to why Irving grew tired of LeBron's shadow in Cleveland.
David Griffin former Cavaliers general manager said on Cleveland sports radio Sunday the visit Hayward went on turned into a commitment from the then 23-year-old forward. Apparently Irving had commitments from Hayward, Trevor Ariza and Channing Frye before LeBron James returned to the team in free agency.
A commitment from Hayward didn't necessarily mean he would have ended up a Cavalier. As a restricted free agent, the Utah Jazz had the right to match any offer sheet Hayward signed. He ended up signing a four-year $62 million offer sheet with Charlotte, which Utah subsequentially matched.
Still, this gives us a look into Irving's thought process of requesting a trade away from LeBron and the Cavaliers. He was ready to lead a team built around him, and then LeBron came and "squashed the whole thing."