Sportress of Blogitude

Report: Kyrie Irving ‘never really wanted’ LeBron James to return to Cleveland

It appears that a long-term partnership between Kyrie Irving and LeBron James upon the latter’s return to the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2014 was not in the cards given some recent comments from Jason Lloyd of The Athletic.

Lloyd, joining Joe Vardon of, and ESPN’s Dave McMenamin on Thursday on 92.3 The Fan to discuss James’ second exodus out of Cleveland, suggested Irving did not even want James to return to Cleveland in the first place.

“It has been made clear to me by multiple people, Kyrie never really wanted LeBron to come back (to Cleveland) in the first place,” Lloyd said, as transcribed by Clutch Points. “He didn’t think it was necessary. LeBron said something to Kyrie on the court following a game when he was with Miami something to the effect of, ‘Keep going, keep doing what you’re doing. You never know, I could be back here one day.’ And Kyrie basically said, ‘What’s he talking about, we don’t need him.’”

James’ return home of course culminated in an NBA title, with Irving playing a hugely significant role in securing a long-awaited championship for Cleveland. Although there were a few instances of perceived disconnect between the two stars from time to time during their tenure. Things then came to a head leading into the 2017-18 NBA season, with Irving effectively forcing a trade out of town last August with the superstar point guard landing with the Boston Celtics.

The prevailing belief was that Irving was unhappy of playing in LeBron’s shadow and everything that has come out since he was dealt to Boston seems to confirm as much. There have since been occasions, however, where it appeared the two superstars’ icy relationship has begun to thaw somewhat.

That said, it’s all in the past now. What’s done is done and both players have moved on from Cleveland now that James is headed west to play with the Los Angeles Lakers. It’s nevertheless interesting to consider how such a promising partnership may never really had a chance to succeed in the long haul.