“I wouldn’t necessarily say it surprised me,” Green told reporters Tuesday. “I would have say more than anything, it’s the level of respect I have for him. That’s tough to do. I don’t think people take into account that he put so much pressure on himself by doing that.
Green added it said a lot about Irving's competitiveness and character that he wanted to step away from LeBron James' shadow to find his own team. The Boston Celtics traded Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, the Brooklyn Nets' 2018 first-round pick and a 2020 second-round selection to Cleveland for Irving last month.
“Most people would probably say, 'LeBron is the greatest player in the world,'" Green told reporters. “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."
Of course, Irving won't be doing everything on his own. The Celtics signed Gordon Hayward and Al Horford during the last two offseasons; Irving represents the final piece of their Big Three core.
Green further commented on James himself being at the forefront of player-empowering moves like the one Irving made this summer—and Kevin Durant's free-agent arrival in Golden State last July.
"I think LeBron made it OK, I think he opened up a new door for guys. He gave guys a voice," Green said.