CLEVELAND — Other than what may have been a cryptic tweet from Kevin Love and a rap song posted to social media by LeBron James that included the lyrics "heavy heart," there has been little reaction from Cavs players since news broke of Kyrie Irving's trade request Friday.
Richard Jefferson discussed the situation on the latest installment of his "Road Trippin'" podcast, released on James' "Uninterrupted" platform Monday.
"I don't think that there's a power struggle with LeBron and Kyrie and Kev," Jefferson said during the podcast that featured Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn, taped at Vonn's home Friday. "Kyrie is a hyper-intelligent kid, really, really smart, doesn't get enough credit for how smart he is. I think seeing that the franchise is in flux, seeing (general manager David Griffin) leave, the amount of coaches, I think Kyrie has had a much tougher time in this stretch of the organization than anyone ever really wants to fully....
"He's the No. 1 pick right after LeBron. He has three different coaches. LeBron comes back. Now there's trade rumors. Now it's LeBron's leaving. At some point in time, anybody would want some sort of stability, even if it's the unknown. I don't know if he asked to be traded. But I will say that he's had a tougher time if you look at it from start to where we are right now, of the ups and downs of a franchise more than most. Even though we've been successful and even though we've won a championship and he's been an All-Star, there's still been so much of a wave. To be like, 'We're going to sit here for a whole year on whether or not LeBron's coming back,' that's got to be tough on anybody, everybody."
Since being the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 draft, Irving has played for four coaches — Byron Scott, Mike Brown, David Blatt and Tyronn Lue — and the Cavs just named Koby Altman their third general manager in that span.
Although Irving told the Cavs he wants to escape James' shadow, according to ESPN's Brian Windhorst, Jefferson tried to downplay any rift between Irving and James.
"I think Kyrie knows how important he is to our team. LeBron knows how important he is," Jefferson said. "They've been on this podcast together multiple times where LeBron is like, 'Dude, this is my guy. I need him. He is so important to me. My kids love him.'
"Just like any family, there's ups and downs, there's moments that you hate them, moments that you love them and you just kind of keep it moving."
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