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."
23. September 2017
|West Ham 2 Tottenham 3: Kane at the double to play derby hero again|
|Pulis regrets comments on Livermore´s West Brom absence|
|Remarkable Rossi on front row as Vinales takes Aragon pole|
|Rangers 0 Celtic 2: Rogic and Griffiths maintain Old Firm dominance|
|Atletico Madrid 2 Sevilla 0: Carrasco, Griezmann send Simeone´s side second|
|Cowboys see off Roosters to book Storm decider|
|Ostapenko survives Kumkhum scare for first final since French Open|
|Zhang claims Guangzhou crown once again|
|Ulreich shoulders blame as Bayern colleagues rally around stand-in keeper|
|Go **** yourselves - Wright blasts Arsenal fans after Oxlade-Chamberlain backlash|
|Yasir passes Pakistan fitness test|
|Falcao revels in career-best streak|
|De Bruyne, a drug test and a lot of questions - Mendy reveals origin of Man City move|
|Benevento blame captain Lucioni´s failed doping test on cream|
|Wozniacki blitzes Muguruza, Kerber beaten in Tokyo|
|Ibrahimovic stamp was an accident – Mings|
|Astros continue surge as Verlander shuts out Angels|
|Carroll must stay fit to earn new West Ham deal, says Bilic|
|Dodgers slugger Bellinger breaks NL rookie HR record|
|Trump wants anthem protesters off the NFL field|
|Mourinho: Every Man United forward deserves to start|
|Saints CBs Lattimore, Moore to miss Panthers clash|
|Blue Jays burn Yankees with hidden-ball trick|
|Thomas aims to take chances at East Lake|
|Salah better than expected at Liverpool – Klopp|
|Wenger: Something will happen to regulate transfer fees|
|Ausmus won´t return as Tigers manager in 2018|
|Thomas surges to share lead with Casey, Simpson|
|Nadal and Berdych beaten in doubles but Europe dominate Laver Cup day one|
|Mourinho warns Shaw to work hard to regain Manchester United place|
|Ancelotti slams ´slow´ Bayern after Wolfsburg fightback|
22. September 2017
|Hull secure play-off spot and effectively end Wigan defence|
|Semedo, Deulofeu left out of Barcelona trip to Girona|
|Gloucester hold off fightback from winless Warriors|
|Conte urges Morata to show Costa aggression|
|Guardiola hopes Aguero breaks City record at home|
|Cheetahs end Leinster´s perfect start, Glasgow thrash Munster|
|Puig breaks fundraising goal for Puerto Rico hurricane relief in 24 hours|
|Paire saves match point to see off Goffin|
|Lille 0 Monaco 4: Falcao hits double as champions romp to win|
|Bayern Munich 2 Wolfsburg 2: Ulreich howler sparks shock comeback|
|De Biasi takes charge of Deportivo Alaves|
|Vikings QB Bradford to miss second straight game|
|Bertasio halfway to maiden professional win|
|Srna vows to clear ´name and reputation´ following doping claims|
|Neymar to miss PSG´s Montpellier clash|
|Tsonga shocked by Struff at St Petersburg Open|
|Costa can win many Atletico trophies, says ex-Chelsea striker Shevchenko|
|NFL plans to fight Aaron Hernandez lawsuit|
|From Maradona to Messi – Barcelona celebrate 60 years at Camp Nou|
|Shakespeare remaining upbeat over Silva saga|
|Alex Sandro replaces Marcelo in Brazil squad|
|Woods still taking recovery slowly despite progress|
|Returning Costa scared of Atletico fitness plans|
|Benevento captain Lucioni fails doping test|
|Valverde dismisses Real Madrid ´crisis´ talk|
|Stoke could have one fit centre-back for Chelsea game - Hughes|
|Zhang to face Krunic in Guangzhou final|
|Roland-Jones an Ashes doubt after suffering stress fracture|
|Bakayoko fit after car accident and Hazard ready to start, says Chelsea boss Conte|
|Rummenigge calls for transfer window to close on July 31 across Europe|
|Nigel Pearson appointed by Belgian side OH Leuven|
|Federer impressed at own longevity on 20th anniversary of rankings entry|
|Rossi returns as Pedrosa sets Aragon pace|
|UEFA inspector to examine disrupted clash between Arsenal and Cologne|
|Mourinho misses out as Allegri, Conte and Zidane battle for Best FIFA Coach of the Year|
|Conte encouraged by Musonda and Kenedy progress|
|Sri Lanka cricketers call for probe into Wickramasinghe allegations|
|Costa lands in Madrid ahead of Atletico return|
|Guardiola endorses Mourinho´s EFL Cup scepticism|