When LeBron James returned to Cleveland in 2014, the Cavaliers immediately turned from a rebuilding team to a legitimate title contender in the NBA. Having the “Big Three” of James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love, the Cavaliers easily defeated every team they faced in the Eastern Conference playoffs. However, after three straight appearances in the NBA Finals and winning an NBA championship title, Irving decided to part ways with the Cavaliers.
In August 2017, Kyrie Irving was traded to the Boston Celtics in exchange for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, and draft picks. When Irving demanded a trade, rumors started to circulate that the main reason why he wanted to leave the Cavaliers was LeBron James. The All-Star point guard allegedly claimed that the Cavaliers really didn’t need James to contend for the title, something that former Cavaliers high-performance director Alex Moore strongly denied.
According to Alex Moore, there were no issues between LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, and all the rumors about their dispute were only made by the media. Moore added that the Cavaliers’ locker room was totally fine during that time, and Irving just wanted to go in a different direction. Moore even called LeBron a “great teammate.”
“When he came back, the entire place changed. The emphasis went on winning a championship,” Moore said, via Yahoo Sports. “He’s so professional and he’s such an unbelievable athlete that, when he came back, everybody was just driven. There was this feeling that, ‘We have to win this, we’re going to do everything we can’. The way he displays, on and off the court, is such a great example that everyone else falls in line with what he’s doing. It’s nice to have a LeBron on your team. In basketball, you need superstars. There’s only five guys on the court.”
As of now, LeBron James and Kyrie Irving are no longer with the Cavaliers. Irving is currently playing his second year with the Celtics, who are emerging as top favorite NBA team to fully dominate the Eastern Conference in the 2018-19 NBA season. When the 2018 NBA offseason started, rumors and speculations circulated that Irving could leave the Celtics when he becomes an unrestricted free agent next summer. However, the All-Star point has recently addressed the rumors and said that he plans to re-sign with the Celtics in the 2019 NBA free agency.
Meanwhile, after eight consecutive years of ruling the Eastern Conference, LeBron James moved to the Western Conference to join the Los Angeles Lakers. The arrival of James is expected to end the Lakers’ playoff drought, but as of now, it remains a big question if the Purple and Gold could steal the throne from the reigning NBA champion Golden State Warriors.