People were talking about Jake Peavy, right about five years ago at this time. The financially strapped Padres were looking to deal his big yet reasonable contract. Peavy, with full no-trade protection in his contract, controlled his destiny.

The Yankees desperately needed starting pitchers and had payroll flexibility burning a hole in their pocket. That’s why Peavy got a call from a friend he had made on Team USA at the 2006 World Baseball Classic.

“[Derek, of course] Jeter had heard through the grapevine, ‘We’re hearing from this end that you don’t want to come to the American League East, to New York,’ ” Peavy told The Post on Friday. “I told him, ‘I’m certainly glad you touched base.’ It was false.

“I wanted to play anywhere where you had this opportunity. Obviously New York is a place where people would line up to go to have this opportunity. That was completely false.”

Peavy, getting to choose his locale, simply preferred to stay in the National League, with Atlanta and St. Louis the most discussed destinations. The Yankees wound up signing free agents CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett and re-signing their own Andy Pettitte. Peavy wound up not getting dealt until the summer of 2009, when he agreed to go to the American League’s White Sox.

And now here he is in the AL East, employed in New York’s equally intense rival city, looking to boost the Red Sox past the Cardinals in Game 3 of this error-prone World Series on Saturday night. Ready to offer further proof this Alabama native can thrive anywhere; after all, he’s only 32, which means he has another five years or so before he’d be an ideal fit for the Yankees.

“I’ve enjoyed it with every bit of me,” Peavy said at a Busch Stadium news conference. “I’m exactly where I belong at this point in time, and I couldn’t be any more excited to be in Boston, hopefully for, we know next year, and hopefully beyond.”

Peavy is no longer the guy who won the 2007 National League Cy Young Award with the Padres, yet the Red Sox traded promising rookie shortstop Jose Iglesias to Detroit in July in order to obtain Peavy from the White Sox in a three-team deal because they pegged him as a competitive veteran who would fit well in the back of their starting rotation. He is signed through next year, during which he’ll be paid $14.5 million.