When LeBron James decided to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers, he joined forces with Kyrie Irving and eventually Kevin Love. The trio, James’ next iteration of a Big Three after winning two championships with the Miami Heat, made four consecutive appearances in the NBA Finals.
Injuries to Irving and Love had a significant impact on their time together, but the Cavs still managed to capture one title. It came in improbable fashion, as they erased a 3-1 series deficit against the Golden State Warriors.
After another loss to the Warriors in the Finals, Irving shockingly requested a trade from the Cavaliers. A fracture in his relationship with James was thought to be the driving force behind Irving’s desire to move on.
The two still spoke positively of one another even after the trade, and were cordial when the Cavs played the Boston Celtics last season. Now, as the leader of the Celtics, Irving is experiencing some of what James has encountered over his career.
According to Jay King of The Athletic, Irving called James to apologize for his behavior during time as teammates:
Kyrie Irving said he called LeBron James and apologized. Said sometimes getting the most out of your group is not the easiest thing.
— Jay King (@ByJayKing) January 17, 2019
Irving also used the conversation to seek guidance from James on being a leader, per Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated:
Kyrie Irving says he called LeBron James after the loss to the Magic. The topic: Getting the most out of young players, and how James did it w/a young Kyrie and Co. in Cleveland.
— Chris Mannix (@SIChrisMannix) January 17, 2019
Their conversation comes on the heels of Irving publicly criticizing teammates after a loss to the Orlando Magic. While the Celtics notched an impressive win over the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday, the season has been underwhelming.
After reaching the Eastern Conference Finals last season without Irving, the Celtics were expected to take a step forward, particularly with James joining the Los Angeles Lakers.
Irving’s criticism and seeking out James adds a bit of an intriguing layer to his forthcoming free agency. Though, last October Irving said he intended to re-sign with the Celtics.
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.