The LeBron James-Kevin Love relationship has dominated the headlines this season, making it easy to forget that the Cleveland Cavaliers’ biggest headache at the start of the season were the conflicting basketball philosophies between Kyrie Irving and LeBron.
James openly critiqued Irving and his young teammates—at one point comparing them to his “kids”—and Kyrie says it took a while for the two superstars to develop a healthy amount of mutual trust and respect.
LeBron says he doesn’t have many close friends in the NBA, and that the Cavs really only have to get along on the court in order to be successful.
Per the NEOMG:
“He came up to me and was like, ‘One, you can never have another game with no assists,’ ” Irving said, describing James’ words (following a heartbreaking early November road loss in Utah.) ” ‘You can damn near have just one, two, three, but you can’t have zero.’ And I was like, ‘All right, cool, it won’t happen again.’ And it hasn’t happened since that game.” […] “Friends or no friends, at the end of the day we’re all here to do one thing, and that’s to win,” James said.
On Nov. 3, the Cavs lost by 19 to Portland. James, so disgusted with Irving and with Dion Waiters (who’s since been traded) for jacking up shots without trying to build a rhythm offensively, stood idly in the corner in the second half and let his team flounder. Afterward, James said the Cavs had developed “bad habits” from four years of losing while he was in Miami. It was abundantly clear which teammates he was speaking about. […] “I don’t want to say it’s not been rocky at all,” Irving said. “Obviously, he sees the game one way, I see the game another way. What makes it great about being on the team is that we both can see it together in our own way.”
“People get so infatuated with the best of friends, things of that nature,” James said. “First of all, I’ve got three very good friends in this league, and that’s Carmelo (Anthony), and that’s C.P. (Chris Paul), and that’s D-Wade (Dwyane Wade). And after that I have a bunch of teammates. I have guys I ride for every day. […] But Kyrie is a guy I understand how important he is to this team, how important he is. And the same with Kev as well.”