Despite winning one championship in three consecutive NBA Finals appearances with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Irving reportedly wanted to get out of James’ shadow and lead his own team prior to the 2017-18 NBA season.
As James viewed Irving’s trade as ‘the beginning of the end’ with the Cavaliers, there have been multiple reports about All-Star players not wanting to play with him on the Los Angeles Lakers.
However, Irving recently apologized to James over the phone and their relationship is in ‘a good place’ now, according to 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.”
With the Celtics struggling at times during the 2018-19 season, Irving is more understanding of James’ approach during their three seasons together. As James and Irving found immediate success, there reportedly is mutual interest in playing together again as the latter will enter 2019 free agency.
Amid the Anthony Davis trade rumors where the Pelicans are reportedly considering a counteroffer, Irving’s name has been brought up as the Lakers could still have $30 million in cap space. While Irving committed to the Celtics earlier in the season, he has recently backtracked and believes he does not ‘owe anybody s—‘ amid these reports.
Although this is not the first time two All-Star teammates have gone their separate ways, there is a unique opportunity to reunite in Los Angeles. While Irving would have to take a slight pay cut depending on how the trade deadline ultimately plays out, winning more championships certainly makes for a strong sales pitch.