“I went to Puerto Rico with my kids and I saw our best friends who live down there and their kids are 12, 11, 10,” Frye said. “My son is eight now. I’m like, ‘I want to go his practice and not have to worry about my practice.’ I want to make time for them.
“What some of these young fellas don’t understand is your whole life is on a selfish bubble, what’s best for you, what you want to do. For me it took a while, but my dad instinct, and my husband and family guy kicked in. What can I do for my family? Money is awesome, but at this point I’ve had enough people either die or go away through relationships that couldn’t get kept up. That’s what’s most important, making something outside of basketball.”
Frye, 35, is in his 13th NBA season. He said he has been considering retirement for a few years, but has found it hard to leave the game. He talked to fellow veterans Dwyane Wade, who is also retiring when the season is over, and Dirk Nowitzki to get their input.
Frye has played for six teams, but decided to return to the Cavaliers on a one-year deal last summer because he believed it was somewhere he could still contribute. He also has fond memories of Cleveland after being part of the 2016 championship team.
“I wanted to retire a Cav,” Frye said. “I didn’t know what was going to happen this summer, so I wanted to make sure I’m controlling my own destiny and going out the way I wanted to go out.”
It hasn’t been the storybook ending that Frye might have envisioned. With LeBron James gone, the Cavaliers have started a rebuilding process that has them near the bottom of the league with a 15-48 record. Head coach Tyronn Lue lasted just six games before being fired, and several of Frye’s teammates have been traded away.
He has seen his role with the team slip, playing just 30 games and averaging 9.8 minutes per night.
“Everybody knew it was coming,” he said of the retirement announcement that was posted Thursday night on social media. “I wasn’t playing. I was sitting next to the coaches all the time. For me it was the natural progression of where it should go. I love basketball and I love being around, but also love that basketball always gave me a challenge.
“Right now my job and my job for however many years if I wanted to play, I would be more like a coach figure. I’m a competitor and I’m like, ‘OK, I want to help.’ But I also know there’s limitations to where this league is going or where this team is going. It’s not like, ‘Oh man, I deserve to play.’ It’s not like that at all. At the end of the day, you have to look at yourself and be like, ‘Is this what’s truly the right type of gas for the car you’re driving.’ For me, right now, this season, it’s on E. I have enough to finish out the season and I’m excited to do it with these guys.”