Before the Cleveland Cavaliers agree to trade Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics, Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue reportedly urged new GM Koby Altman to keep Irving on the team. According to a piece by ESPN's Dan McMenamin, Lue likened the situation to when the Lakers denied Kobe Bryant's trade request in 2007, which allowed the sides to work things out.

As we know, Altman ultimately decided against keeping Irving around and shipped the 4x All-Star to Boston in exchange for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the Brooklyn Nets' 2018 first-round draft pick as well as the Miami Heat's 2020 second-round draft pick.

Altman explained to Dave McMenamin what it was like landing his new job while simultaneously learning that his star point guard wanted out.


"That was awesome," Altman deadpans. "Talk about getting your texts, your phone blowing up. It was like, 'Congratulations, but how do you want to move Kyrie?'"

His coach, Tyronn Lue, advised they hold onto Irving, just like the Los Angeles Lakers did when Lue's former teammate Bryant demanded a trade.

"We wanted to figure out, is this real?" Altman says. "Is Kyrie someone we might want to bring back and say, 'Hey, look, players have figured it out in the past. You're going to figure it out. We're going to still be really good, we're going to be winning games, so it's not going to be all awful.' You know what I mean? So thinking about the parameters of that, the implications of that was something we were also always debating."

Irving is currently averaging 24.8 points, 4.9 assists, 3.1 rebounds and 1.2 steals for the 30-10 Celtics, who are sitting in first place in the Eastern Conference. Isaiah Thomas has yet to play for the Cavs but that'll change tonight when he makes his season debut against the Blazers.

Tomorrow night, the two Eastern Conference powerhouses will go head to head in Boston.