Today’s All-Star Game will reunite LeBron James and Kyrie Irving as teammates for the first time since the trade that sent Irving to Boston for three players and two draft picks. They were on the court together at Saturday’s practice and neither made a big deal out of the reunion, relays Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com.
Irving told reporters it was “pretty awesome” to be back with James, but added that their interactions were “just normal.” “Sorry, I know that sounds like not a lot,” he added, “but it’s just normal.”
James is responsible for bringing them back together. As one of the team captains for today’s game, he made the decision to select Irving, saying, “If he was available I was taking him.” James was originally angry that Irving requested a trade, but didn’t do much to talk him out of it, Vardon writes, even though he asked Cleveland’s front office not to make a deal. James said he still has fond memories of their partnership.
“Those thoughts still go into my head of how great it was to break the drought in our city, over 50-plus years,” James said. “The both of us had magical Finals runs and, so it’s always special.”
There’s more this morning out of Cleveland:
- The Cavaliers got rid of a bad situation on and off the court with three deals just before the trade deadline, Kevin Love tells Vardon in a separate story. Several players the Cavs sent away were reportedly affecting team chemistry, although Love says he didn’t see any “friction” with Dwyane Wade. “It might not have been a bad thing to get some fresh faces in there and guys from situations where they really wanted to win,” Love said. “I think first and foremost, seeing those [new] guys in Atlanta, they didn’t play, but they got there right after the trade and they just said they want to win. You can tell when somebody says it, you can tell when somebody means it. They really meant it and it felt good to have that there.”
- Love offered a medical update on the broken left hand that has sidelined him since late January, Vardon adds. Love has started running again and plans to have his cast taken off at the four-week mark, which will be in early March. His prognosis has him out of action for eight weeks.
- James has been able to make about $20MM extra since rejoining the Cavaliers by signing one-year contracts with player options, notes Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com. The team wanted James to agree to a four-year max deal when he returned to Cleveland that would have been worth roughly $88MM. By opting for shorter commitments, James maximized his flexibility and will have earned $108MM by the end of this season.