Kyrie Irving wanted to be "the man" with a new team outside of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Now that he has his chance, it is time to prove his actual worth, according to Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green.
Irving dropped a bombshell on the Cavs when he asked for a trade as he eventually joined Eastern Conference rivals the Boston Celtics.
The All-Star reportedly requested a trade because he no longer wanted to play with LeBron James. While the request shocked many in the NBA, two-time championship winner Green was not stunned.
"I wouldn't necessarily say it surprised me. I would say more than anything, it's the respect level I have for him," Green said.
"That's tough to do. I don't think people take into account that he put so much pressure on himself by doing that. But the willingness to do that, knowing the pressure that comes with that and saying, 'I'm ready to do it; let's do it.' That's what stood out to me more than anything."
Irving was a part of a team in Cleveland that won the 2016 NBA title and went to three consecutive NBA Finals against the Warriors from 2015-2017.
He averaged 21.6 points per game in his six-year career with the Cavaliers, but made the playoffs in only three of those years, which began when James returned to the Cavs.
"Most people would probably say, 'LeBron is the greatest player in the world,'" Green said. "I don't say this in disrespect to LeBron. But speaking of Kyrie, to say, 'I don't want to play with him no more. I want to do my own thing.'
"You have to deliver with that. He's basically saying, 'I'm ready to deliver.' That's big. That says a lot."
While defending champions the Warriors have kept their core players together, the Cavs, the Celtics, the Houston Rockets and the Oklahoma City Thunder have all revamped their rosters with incoming All-Stars.
Green said the NBA only has James to thank for the roster "arms race."
"LeBron made it OK. I think he opened up a new door for guys. He gave guys a voice and willing to use that voice," Green said of James going to the Miami Heat, then moving back to Cleveland.
"To take careers into your own hands and go where you feel you want to go. Obviously, there are rules in place to try to stop it. But you have the power to do what you want to do. That's a special thing. If anything, he opened guys eyes on what you can possibly do."
18. Juni 2018
|Neymar misses Brazil World Cup training|
|FIFA opens disciplinary proceedings over alleged Mexico homophobic chants|
|Cisse hoping to be a pioneer for black and African coaches|
|BREAKING NEWS: World Cup over for Croatia´s Kalinic|
|Defiant Jones confident of upturn in England fortunes|
|Pogba a natural leader for France - Matuidi|
|Frampton to face Jackson as Fury continues comeback in Belfast|
|Team effort needed for Japan to stop James, says Nishino|
|Di Francesco extends Roma contract|
|It was a normal challenge - Switzerland equaliser fine by Shaqiri|
|Hamilton hopes to avoid ´boring´ French Grand Prix|
|Coutinho expects more Neymar punishment at World Cup|
|Cisse hails Mane as ´one of the best players in the world´|
|Forsberg falls flat as Granqvist proves Sweden´s hero|
|Sweden 1 South Korea 0: Granqvist´s VAR-assisted penalty settles tight game|
|Nishino concerned Japan players affected by Osaka earthquake|
|Isco pleased with Lopetegui´s Real Madrid appointment|
|Hazard hints at Real Madrid interest|
|Wasps disappointed as Wilson joins Scotland backroom staff|
|Hierro has full confidence in De Gea|
|Russia will stop Salah - Cherchesov|
|Allen signs new four-year Stoke contract|
|England issue update over injured duo Stokes and Woakes|
|Mancini leaves door open for Buffon´s Italy return|
|Alli calls for England to be ruthless in World Cup opener|
|Tahir rested as Proteas call up uncapped duo|
|Uruguay v Saudi Arabia: Centurion Suarez seeks World Cup redemption|
|Portugal v Morocco: Hat-trick hero Ronaldo hunts stricken Atlas Lions|
|Argentina didn´t draw because of Messi´s missed penalty - Maradona|
|Wenger heaps praise on France star Kante|
|If VAR helps referees, I´m not against that – Australia´s Sainsbury|
|Kimmich questions Germany mentality after shock defeat|
|Roberts to leave Warrington Wolves|
|Australia talent Arzani ready to make the jump from A-League|
|Lewandowski: I can be at the top until I´m 35|
|All Blacks winger Savea confirms Toulon switch|
|Free Fall available for France after red card rescinded|
|South Korea can progress from wide-open group, says Park Ji-sung|
|Gordon called up by Wallabies to replace injured Genia|
|Germany can still win World Cup, insists Werner|
|Man United & Real Madrid talk not affecting Milinkovic-Savic|
|Out-of-contract Ruiz focused on Costa Rica|
|Southgate will not bombard England with last-minute instructions|
|Muller: Germany under extreme pressure|
|Rangers score four runs in ninth to pick up walk-off win over Rockies|
|U.S. Open champion Koepka happy to continue being ´overlooked´|
|Pogba: I´m the most criticised player in the world|
|Maradona: Sampaoli´s game plan against Iceland was a disgrace|
|De Gea will bounce back from error – Marchena|
|Slater named for Maroons return|
|Woods, Faldo, Harrington and Koepka – U.S. Open champion joins fine club after successful defence|
|Fleetwood positive despite falling short at U.S. Open|
|Jesus: I had no reason to play for a penalty|
|Hernandez admits to exaggerating fouls against Australia|
|Koepka says winning two U.S. Opens not even in his ´wildest dreams´|
|Hernandez: Griezmann an idol at Atletico|
|Sri Lanka take charge despite Gabriel exploits|
|U.S. Open final-round timeline: How clinical Koepka kept his crown|
|Koepka fights off challengers to successfully defend U.S. Open title|
|´Aching´ Neymar urges referees to intervene|
|BREAKING NEWS: Koepka holds on to defend U.S. Open title|
17. Juni 2018
|Lozano goal causes artificial earthquake in Mexico|
|Djokovic: Mental battle will be Murray´s biggest|
|Hummels criticises Germany tactics in Mexico loss|
|Brazil the latest favourites to stumble, but Tite and Neymar won´t panic|
|Magnificent Fleetwood matches U.S. Open record with closing 63|
|Brazil 1 Switzerland 1: Zuber pegs back below-par Selecao|
|Warrington hold off Wakefield fightback, Tigers held despite Hitchcox heroics|
|Germany follow trend of poor starts for World Cup champions|
|Reed on the charge as U.S. Open race hots up|