Cavs head coach Tyronn Lue has designs on playing LeBron James even fewer minutes than the career-low 35.6 he logged last season, but LBJ doesn’t think that should prevent him from winning a fifth Most Valuable Player award in 2016-17.

James points to Stephen Curry winning his second Maurice Podoloff Trophy despite only being on the court for an average of just 34.2 minutes per night.

Cleveland co-star Kyrie Irving, meanwhile, is less bullish on his own chances due to the fact that he plays alongside the League’s greatest player.

Per ESPN:

“No,” James said Saturday when asked if he was concerned that planned rest could affect his MVP case. “Because Steph played 31 minutes a game and he won the MVP.”

 

James was a little off in his stats — Curry averaged 32.7 minutes per game in 2014-15 and 34.2 minutes last season en route to back-to-back MVPs — but his point was clear: Even at age 31 and playing his 14th season, with Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue hoping to keep him fresh for the postseason, it’s possible to add another MVP award to his collection.

 

There is also the question of how James’ MVP chances affect Kyrie Irving’s. The sixth-year guard said Saturday he “absolutely” has thought about winning the award, but isn’t sure if it will come as a teammate of James. […] “Following that path of the greats that have come before me, putting myself in a great position to be up for that award would be a tremendous honor,” Irving said. “But I’m obviously realistic. I’m obviously living in a moment when we have the best player playing the game right now, and as well as other great pieces around us. So, whatever my role is here on this team, then I’m willing to do. Whatever I need to do in order to raise the level of my play as well as my teammates around me, I will do as well. And the rest will follow. Good things will happen when you do and you just prepare and give everything to this game, and that’s what I’ll continue to do.”

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