“Why would I have to?” he said when asked Monday on ESPN’s First Take.
The four-time all-star point guard made his trade demands known in July and was eventually dealt to the Boston Celtics in a massive deal in August.
Irving served as James’s sidekick since the latter’s return to Cleveland in 2014. The Cavs then reached the NBA Finals in three consecutive years against the Golden State Warriors, winning the title in 2016.
“I don’t think that you owe anything to another person in terms of figuring out what you want to do with your life,” Irving said. “It’s not anything personal.”
Irving was drafted first overall by the Cavaliers in 2011 after James left Cleveland for Miami. He played six seasons in Ohio and said he enjoyed his time there.
However, the 25-year-old felt the opportunity was right to move on.
“There comes a time where you mature as an individual,” he said. “It’s time to make that decision. There’s no looking back from that standpoint.
“There is no time to figure out how to save someone’s feelings when, ultimately, you have to be selfish in figuring out what you want to do. It wasn’t me not wanting to win. It wasn’t anything about that. I want to be extremely, extremely happy in perfecting my craft. That was the only intent I have in all of this.”