Six weeks after the Cleveland Cavaliers fell to the Golden State Warriors in five games in the 2017 NBA Finals, Kyrie Irving surprisingly requested a trade as he sought to get out from underneath the large shadow cast by LeBron James.
Although the two, along with Kevin Love, led the Cavaliers to an improbable comeback and championship in the 2016 Finals, the relationship between Irving and James seemingly deteriorated beyond repair. Irving was sent to the Boston Celtics one month after his trade demand.
Irving and James never publicly criticized one another after the trade, and appeared to bury the proverbial hatchet at the 2018 NBA All-Star Game when James drafted his former teammate to his team. Fences have further been mended since Irving reached out to James last month.
In discussing their phone call, James said he and Irving have a good relationship, per Joe Vardon of The Athletic:
“Yeah, we’re in a good place right now,” James told The Athletic Saturday night. “Me and Kyrie are in a good place right now. I love the man that he’s becoming, I love the challenges he’s accepted and I always wish the best for him.”
Irving’s call was to seek advice on leadership and apologize for his behavior as a young player who wanted everything in an instant. Irving feels as though he’s now enduring similar hurdles leading a young Celtics team amid lofty expectations.
Beyond the two improving their relationship, the phone call was noteworthy in that Irving reportedly is open to reuniting with James on the Lakers.
Reminder: Vivid Seats is the Official Ticket Reseller of LakersNation.com. New Customers use “LAKERSNATION” (all CAPS) in the Vivid Seats App on your phone and get 10% off any Lakers home game ticket order for the remainder of the season.