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Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving did not want LeBron James to rejoin the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2014 after the latter’s stint with the Miami Heat.
James who played for the Heat for four seasons made his return to Cleveland four years ago to lead the Cavaliers in winning the 2016 title. Moments after James arrived in Ohio, the two All-Stars were seemingly not on the same page, as both players engaged in numerous confrontations.
According to Jason Lloyd of The Athletic, Irving thought that James returning to Cleveland wasn’t necessary at all. ESPN’s Dave McMenamin added that Irving wanted to immediately ask for a trade following the Cavaliers’ championship victory.
“It has been made clear to me by multiple people, Kyrie never really wanted LeBron to come back in the first place,” Lloyd said.
Lloyd added that while playing for the Heat, James told Irving to keep going and continue what he’s doing, stating that he might return their one day. Irving quickly responded, saying that the Cavaliers don’t need James.
Heated Confrontation Between James And Irving
It can be summoned that James and Irving had words with each other following their 101-82 loss against the Portland Trail Blazers and their 102-100 defeat against the Utah Jazz. Irving, who was the top overall pick of the 2011 NBA Draft, finished their game against the Jazz without an assist.
Irving was also sidelined for five games on the finals of that year due to a fractured kneecap. However, James got frustrated with Irving, calling the latter soft while questioning his toughness in the process. Cleveland.com’s Joe Vardon added that it took time for the two to earn the respect of each other.
Regardless of their heated confrontations, Irving and James led the Cavaliers into three consecutive NBA Finals appearances in their time together. In addition, Irving has also stepped up his game by averaging 25.2 points per game during the 2016-17 NBA season.
Irving also had a great season with the Celtics last year, averaging 24.4 points, while James accomplished one of the best years of his career after leading the Cavaliers into the Finals. With little support from his teammates, the Cavaliers lost to the Golden State Warriors in the championship round.
With James joining the Los Angeles Lakers on a four-year deal, basketball analysts have the Celtics as one of the favorites to make it through the 2019 NBA Finals. The Celtics made it to the Eastern Conference Finals last year despite an injury to Irving and Gordon Hayward.
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