"It's a huge game for Kyrie and I think one we're all looking to play our best for him, not only for the team but for him", said Gordon Hayward, Boston's other offseason All-Star addition. Given the chance to explain his motives a few hours before the opener, Irving was ambiguous with his answer.
Going forward, I kind of wanted to put that to rest in terms of everyone figuring out or trying to figure out and dive in and continue to dive into a narrative that they have no idea about and that probably will never, ever be divulged, because it's not important. Instead, he reiterated that leaving the Cavs was all about being happy and pushing his career forward.
Lonzo Ball #2 of the Los Angeles Lakers looks on during the first half of a preseason game against the Denver Nuggets at Staples Center on October 2, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.
Irving has thanked Cleveland fans for their support during his six seasons here, but has also made less-than-flattering comparisons to the city, the Cavs' organization, and to LeBron James.
"There comes a time when you mature as an individual and you make that decision", Irving said of his departure from Cleveland. You know, when I'm actually on the highway, driving into Boston - the newness and the new environment of going into that city is something different for me.
Cleveland was seething, and James, who is questionable for the matchup with Irving because of a sprained left ankle, endured a night of hatred he'll never forget.
Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said on Monday that if James can't suit up, J.R. Smith would take his place in the Cavs starting lineup. "I know a lot about them, they know a lot about me", said Irving. So that right there is a different framework than what I saw past year.