10 NBA players who turned their back on their franchises

Kawhi Leonard, Paul George
Kawhi Leonard, Paul George / Harry How/GettyImages
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7) Kyrie Irving

Former number one overall pick Kyrie Irving was a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers for the first six years of his career and teamed with LeBron James and Kevin Love the final three years he was there. That resulted in three straight NBA Finals and a championship in 2016. Nevertheless, the Cavs tried to trade Irving in a deal for Paul George and that failed deal spurred Irving to demand a trade.

They did, sending him to the Boston Celtics in a deal that included then-all-star Isaiah Thomas. That deal proved to be a failure for both teams, with Thomas failing to return to form after a serious hip injury. He was later dealt to the Lakers after less than a season.

Meanwhile, Irving helped lead the young Celtics and, during his second season in Boston, lead them to the East Semi-finals but his play against the Milwaukee Bucks left a lot to be desired. During the summer of 2021 he left Boston for Brooklyn. after saying he wanted to stay in Boston.

That about his face didn't endear him to Celtics fans and he soon made Nets fans angry too. When paired with Kevin Durant and later James Harden, Irving was in and out of the lineup with injuries. That isn't his fault but he caused controversy by refusing to get a vaccine, which prevented him from playing in home games during most of the 2022–23 season. He was also suspended indefinitely for controversial comments.

Despite that, once he returned, things seemed to get back on track for the Nets, who had begun to play well, but Irving suddenly demanded a trade before the deadline. The Nets were forced to move him or lose him for nothing and he was dealt to Dallas. The clock is ticking before he's hated there too. All told, Irving has turned his back on three franchises so far.