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Iman Shumpert Opens Up About Kyrie Irving's 2017 Cavaliers Trade Demand, Exit

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistApril 15, 2020

Brooklyn Nets' Iman Shumpert (10) looks to pass the ball against the Charlotte Hornets during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Friday, Dec. 6, 2019. The Nets won 111-104. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)
Bob Leverone/Associated Press

While Kyrie Irving does not necessarily regret his 2017 trade request, apparently he wonders what could have been with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Iman Shumpert, who played with Irving on the Cavs from 2015-2017, said the pair have spoken about what could have been had the group stayed together longer. 

"Me and Kyrie have spoken, and just talking about being in that time and thinking you're making all these right decisions and thinking you're making decisions for yourself, then sort of looking back and saying 'You live and you learn," Shumpert told Shams Charania of Stadium. "I'm not saying I regret it, but we had a good thing going. Sometimes you wish you would have held on. Or, you know, the owners and the rest of the front office would have held onto us all for longer.

"But we got what we needed. We got done what we was supposed to get done. I think everybody's happy about it. When you see these guys, there's always big smiles, a lot of hugs. Being a part of that was special. We're all very, very appreciative of that. We just wish we could have held it together for two more years to see what we can do."

Stadium @Stadium

"I'm not saying I regret it. But we had a good thing going." @imanshumpert tells our NBA Insider @ShamsCharania about Cavs team splitting up and Kyrie Irving's feelings on departure. https://t.co/KxxowyqN5J

Realistically speaking? It's unlikely much would have changed, with or without Irving. The Cavs made it to the 2018 NBA Finals without him but were eviscerated in a four-game sweep by the Golden State Warriors. It's likely they would have won the Game 1 classic with Irving as their starting point guard, but the Warriors beat the Cavs in five a year before. 

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A healthy KD-Steph-Klay-Draymond Warriors was perhaps the most unstoppable force in modern basketball history. 

It's also likely LeBron James would have left the Cavs after the 2017-18 season regardless, given his family's desire to live in Los Angeles and the organizational dysfunction in Cleveland. Irving's trade request probably would have followed soon after; the most interesting "what if" here may be how Kyrie staying an extra year would have shifted the basketball landscape as a whole. 

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