Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James has had a complicated history with former teammate Kyrie Irving. Back in 2020, James took exception to Irving praising Kevin Durant’s ability to perform in the clutch, saying that Irving was indirectly taking a shot at him.
During a May 6 interview on Boardroom’s “The ETCs” podcast, Irving attempted to clear the air on the drama with James. The Brooklyn Nets star emphasized that he did not mean to disrespect James, adding that he “respected the hell out” of the Lakers legend.
“Shout out to LeBron, you know what I mean. He felt like I was slighting him, and I would never slight him in a way that would probably make him go and have to respond to things like that, you know what I mean?” Irving said. “I respected the hell out of him. We’ve been through our own battles as teammates, as competitors together. So like that that’s all part of it, bro.
“It’s all fun, but when you gotta — like, when you gotta — go and communicate through alternative channels, that only makes things worse. You feel me? You know what I mean? That’s like water under the bridge in terms of how people perceive what’s being said and then how I actually meant it.”
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LeBron on Kyrie: ‘We Could Never Align’
Irving found himself in hot water with James after claiming that Durant was the first teammate he ever trusted in clutch situations. James said he felt he understood the context of Irving’s comments but still felt slighted, giving the Nets star little wiggle room.
“So, when I heard the comment that Kyrie made, I wanted to one, not only find the whole transcript but also call my people, ‘Send me the whole transcript,’” James noted during a December 8, 2020 interview on the “Road Trippin’” podcast. “And I heard that he had did it on K.D.’s podcast. I was a little, like, damn. Once I got the whole transcript, I was, like, damn. I wasn’t. like, ‘Ah, you tripping, I’m hitting winning shots my whole life.’ I was not like that. I was, like, damn, because you [Richard Jefferson] were there for a couple seasons. I mean, I played with Kyrie for three seasons.
“The whole time while I was there, I only wanted to see him be a MVP of our league. I only cared about his success, and it just didn’t align. It just didn’t align, and we was able to win a championship. That’s the craziest thing, we were still able to win a championship, and we could never align. But I only cared about his well-being both on and off the floor, and it kind of, like, it kind of hurt me a little bit.”
The Lakers Explored a Potential Trade for Kyrie: Report
There was a slight chance James and Irving could have been reunited as teammates, according to SNY.TV’s Ian Begley, who reported that the Lakers explored a potential Irving trade early last season when the Nets star was unable to play in home games with the Nets given his vaccination status.
“Several outlets, including SNY, reported that the Nets had been open to talking to teams about potential Irving trades during that time,” Begley wrote on May 6. “Obviously, nothing came to fruition. But some members of the Lakers organization discussed the possibility of trading for Irving during that stretch of the season, sources say.
“The deal would have obviously reunited Irving with LeBron James. It’s unclear if the Lakers reached any internal consensus on Irving at the time. And it doesn’t really matter at this point. Given where Brooklyn is at the moment, it would be surprising if the club didn’t sign Irving to a multi-year extension/new contract this summer as it continues to pursue a title.”