LeBron James’s return to the Cleveland Cavaliers is only a week old, but there are already reported problems between the star forward and his young point guard. Kyrie Irving and James exchanged words after the Cavs were thumped in a road game against the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday, with Irving not speaking to the media, multiple sources told ESPN.
Sources told reporter Brian Windhorst that the discussion between James and Irving “was seen as healthy,” and focused on getting players besides Irving involved in the offense.
Irving had just five assists, but converted just three of his 17 shot attempts in Cleveland’s 101-82 loss. James scored just 11 points, all in the first half, in 35 total minutes. Irving, who averaged 6.1 assists in 2013-2014, is averaging 3.8 assists after four games. The 22-year-old has seen his scoring improve from 20.8 points per game last season, to 22.0 this season, despite his field-goal percentage dipping from 43 percent to 40 percent.
James, who admitted before the season that it will be "a long process" before the Cavs play like contenders, recently stated that the Cavs have “a lot of bad habits.”
The Cavs have a 1-3 record this season. James is averaging 23.8 points per game, well below his career average of 27.5 points. On Thursday afternoon, James took to Twitter with a response to the questions about the Cavs’ early-season struggles.
In the words of the great @AaronRodgers12 "RELAX"
— LeBron James (@KingJames) November 6, 2014
“I’m just trying to do other things to try to instill what it takes to win,” James told reporters after the Tuesday’s game. “My mission is not a one-game thing. We have to do multiple things in order to win. We got to share the ball. We’ve got to play defense. We’ve got to sacrifice in order to ultimately win. Obviously, when you’re going through the process, it’s not the best part of the process. But I’m looking at the end of the tunnel.”
James was later asked how long it would take to get on the same page.
“Hopefully not too long. It could go on for a couple of months until we are all on the same page. We know exactly where we need to be, both offensively and defensively, and we buy into what it takes to win. I think all of people get it misconstrued on what it takes to win, if it’s just scoring or just going out and trying to win it yourself. This is a team game. You have to rely on your teammates, as well.
“We will get an understanding of that as times goes on.”
One night after James spoke to Irving about dominating the ball, the point guard scored 34 points in a loss to the Utah Jazz, but didn’t have an assist. James finished with 31 points.
An IB Times staff reporter contributed to this report.