LeBron James, Kyrie Irving reportedly exchange words, deemed ‘healthy’ by sources
Multiple sources have told ESPN that LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, two-thirds of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ new triumvirate of top dogs, exchanged words in the locker room following the team’s 101-82 blowout loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday night.
The discussion was described as “healthy” by the sources, although it possibly prompted Irving to leave without speaking to the media.
Given that Irving, long considered the unquestioned main man on the Cavs, it’s arguably not surprising that some things need to be squared away between himself and the new alpha male in the locker room. Much like the overreaction by some to Cleveland’s 1-3 start after its last-second loss to the Utah Jazz on Wednesday, the so-called exchanging of words in all likelihood shouldn’t be taken too seriously.
While expressing frustration over how the offense operated during the loss to the Jazz, James went out of his way to praise Irving.
Well, I mean, as far as [Irving’s] scoring, it was big time. He made all the shots we needed to keep us in the game,” James said, per ESPN.com. “He made some great plays down the stretch, finished above the rim. It was great.”
Irving outscored James on this night, going for 34 to LeBron’s 31, but no assists in the loss to the Jazz and none in the past six quarters, not exactly a recipe for winning when it concerns play from the point guard.
James, who had four of the Cavs’ franchise record-low six assists, alluded to the poor output, not only from Irving but the entire team, during his post-game comments as well.
“You just can’t explain [the low assist totals]. There’s no way you’re going to win a basketball game like that, just having six assists,” James said. “We just can’t win like that, and we got to figure out a way to help each other and not make it so tough.”
Irving, meanwhile, took a long view approach to Cleveland’s early season struggles, although he did admit that losing isn’t fun, either.
“For us, it was a growing process that we have to go through,” Irving said. “It sucks right now. For us, we’re still young, and I’m still learning what’s going on.”
As noted above, with such a dramatic roster shakeup, Irving needs time to adjust to the radically different setup than he has grown accustomed to during his time in Cleveland. What’s more, LeBron needs time to adjust as well. The same can be said about every other player in the Cavaliers rotation, too.