Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James has a complicated history with former teammate Kyrie Irving. In 2020, James took offense when Irving praised Kevin Durant’s ability to perform in the clutch and felt the Superstar guard was taking an indirect shot at him.
During a May 6, 2022 interview on the Boardroom podcast The ETCs, Irving attempted to sort out the drama with James. The Nets star stressed he didn’t want to disrespect James, adding that he “respected the hell” for the Lakers legend.
“Shout out to LeBron, you know what I mean. He felt like I was insulting him and I would never insult him in a way that would probably make him react to things like that, you know what I mean? explained Irving. “I respected him like hell. We have endured our own struggles together as teammates and as competitors. So that’s all part of it, brother.
“It’s all fun, but when you have to, like when you have to go and communicate through alternative channels, it just makes things worse. you feel me You know what I mean, it’s like water under the bridge in terms of how people perceive what’s being said and then how I actually meant it.
ALL Los Angeles Lakers news straight to your inbox! Join this Heavy on Lakers newsletter here!
Join Heavy on Lakers!
Irving found himself in hot water with James after claiming Durant was the first teammate he ever trusted in clutch situations. James felt he understood the context of Irving’s comments but still felt offended, leaving little room for maneuver for the Nets star.
“When I heard Kyrie’s comment, not only did I want to find the entire transcript, but I wanted to call my folks, ‘Send me the entire transcript,'” James noted during a Dec. 8, 2020 interview on Road Trippin’ podcast. “And I heard he did it on the KD podcast. I was a little like, damn. When I got the whole transcript I was damned. I didn’t think, ‘Ah, you stumble, I hit the best shots of my entire life.’ I wasn’t like that. I thought damn because you [Richard Jefferson] stayed there for a couple of seasons. I mean, I’ve played with Kyrie for three seasons.
“The entire time I was there, I just wanted to see him as our league’s MVP. I only cared about his success and it just didn’t add up. It just didn’t work out and we were able to win a championship. That’s the craziest thing, we could still win a championship and we never got aligned. But I was just caring about his well-being on and off the ground, and it kind of hurt me a little bit.
There was a slim chance that James and Irving could be reunited as teammates. SNY.TV’s Ian Begley reported that the Lakers were investigating a possible Irving trade early last season when the Nets star was unable to attend games with the Nets due to his vaccination status.
“Multiple outlets, including SNY, reported that the Nets have been open to discussing potential Irving trades with teams during this time,” Begley wrote on May 6. “Obviously nothing came of it. But some members of the Lakers organization discussed the possibility of trading for Irving during this stretch of the season, sources say.
“The deal would obviously have reunited Irving with LeBron James. It’s unclear if the Lakers reached an internal consensus on Irving at the time. And it doesn’t matter at this point. Given where Brooklyn is right now, it would be surprising if the club didn’t sign Irving to a multi-year renewal/new deal this summer as he continues to seek a title.