Lakers’ LeBron James Has Message for Kevin Durant After Nets Debut

Getty Images LeBron James and Kevin Durant share a moment.

LeBron James was among those cheering on Kevin Durant as he made his debut for the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday — his first time on the court since rupturing his Achilles during the 2019 NBA Finals.

James took to Instagram to deliver a message to Durant, one of his longtime rivals in the league.

“Yessir,” James wrote with a praying emoji. “Glad to see you back where you belong. On the court G.”

Durant had 15 points on 5 of 12 shooting in 24 minutes in the preseason tilt against the Wizards. He added three rebounds, three assists and two blocks to his stat line in the limited action.

Kevin Durant Embraces Rivalry With LeBron James

Kevin Durant Talks Warriors, LeBron, and Business with Alex Rodriguez and Big CatWe welcome on 2 time NBA Champion and Finals MVP, Kevin Durant. In this episode we talk to Kevin about what makes him great, what drives him as a Champion, who inspires him, how he and ARod have had similar professional experiences, the businesses he's working on, his burner account on twitter and much more.…2020-08-27T17:44:19Z

Durant and James have faced off in multiple NBA Finals, first when Durant was in Oklahoma City and then after he moved over to the Warriors. The Nets star spoke highly of James when asked about their “rivalry” while on Barstool Sports’ The Corp with Alex Rodriguez and Dan “Big Cat” Katz.

Since I was in ninth grade and I turned on ESPN, LeBron James was the guy that people were saying was the next Jordan… In my mind, it was like this is the best player, so I have to be as good as this. Or I have to look him in the eyes at some point in my career. That was always in the back of my mind as I worked, as I played games. Because that was what was told me. That was the new guy, that was the next Jordan. But that evolved into it’s just another competitor you know … but just having someone around since I took basketball serious, and we’re still playing against each other, that’s pretty special to me.

You can call it a ‘rivalry,’ you can call it whatever, but to have somebody at the same position where we’re guarding each other when we play is definitely special because he’s one of the best players to ever touch the floor.

While Durant has had some nice things to say about James over the years, it’s been his teammate, Kyrie Irving, that has drawn the ire of the Lakers star. James and Irving won a title together in Cleveland in 2016, but there were times with obvious tension, especially at the end when Irving forced his way out before the 2017-18 season.

Irving jumped on Durant’s The ETCs podcast and made some comments about late-game shotmaking that was meant to complement his new star teammate in Brooklyn, but instead were taken as a shot at James.

“This is the first time in my career where I can look down be like, ‘That motherf—– can make that shot, too,” Irving said on the podcast. “It’s not so much deferring, because in past situations where I didn’t take the last shot, I felt guilty. I want this game-winning shot, but also, you want to trust your teammates. Not that I didn’t trust my teammates, but I felt like I was the best option.”

James recently revealed he was hurt by those comments from Irving during a candid appearance on the Road Trippin’ podcast.

“I played with Kyrie for three seasons. The whole time when 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,” James said. “And we were 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 hurt me a little bit.”

Nets Win Leads to ‘Lakers in 5’ Trending

Durant, Irving and the Nets won their preseason debut against the Wizards 119-114, triggering an interesting trend on Twitter. During the game “Lakers in 5” started trending, spawning some very interesting and hilarious tweets.

“Kyrie and KD looking good bro,” one user wrote. “Lakers in 5.”

“If KD plays at the level we all know he can, I could definitely see the Nets losing to the Lakers in 5,” another Lakers’ backer wrote.

The Lakers made some big additions in the offseason to play around James and Anthony Davis, making them the favorites this season. The Lakers are +210 to win the title, per Bovada. The Nets are considered next closest contender at +550.

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