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LeBron James takes veiled shot at Kyrie Irving: “It’s been a while” since he’s had a playmaking scorer with him

CelticsWire logo CelticsWire 11/14/2017 Jared Weiss

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 17: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Kyrie Irving #11 of the Boston Celtics shake hands after a Cavaliers 102-99 victory at Quicken Loans Arena on October 17, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.: LeBron James takes veiled shot at Kyrie Irving: “It’s been a while” since he’s had a playmaking scorer with him © Getty Images LeBron James takes veiled shot at Kyrie Irving: “It’s been a while” since he’s had a playmaking scorer with him It's only been a few months since Kyrie Irving left the Cleveland Cavaliers to start the next chapter of his career with the Boston Celtics. But for LeBron James, it's been a much longer time since he's had someone he truly felt could share the mantel with him.

"It's been a while since I've had that clear-cut guy who can get guys involved, but also score at the same time," James told B/R Mag's Howard Beck. "But it's fine. It's something that our team will make an adjustment to."

Even before considering the subject of the conversation, the veiled shot at Kyrie Irving is palpable. Irving and LeBron hugged it out at the buzzer after opening night, but that's been the only publicly displayed sign of positive relations between the two. They have thrown out subliminals throughout the fallout since the trade request went public, although both players have been fairly careful to express disappointment and discontent with the situation without being antagonistic or pointedly critical. There seemed to almost be a mutual understanding, albeit begrudgingly.

The conversation is in reference to Isaiah Thomas, the former Celtics star who is going to replace Kyrie…sometime soon. Thomas is recovering from a hip labrum tear and has been taking his time to make his return to the floor, after ending his season early after game one of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Cavs back in May.

James says he can handle the workload for now, but he's well aware he's going to need that second playmaker in IT if they are going to make the Finals again.

"I look forward to when IT returns, whenever that happens, to give me a break here and there, where I know he can run the offense and control a quarter or two, or a game if need be."

Thomas' season last year in Boston was not only by far the best season he or Irving has ever had in their careers, but one of the greatest offensive performances in recent memory. Irving is rapidly catching up to the standard that Thomas left in his wake and is making notable progress in evolving every component in his game. Most importantly, Irving has been an effective distributor and defender this season, playing steadily after a sloppy start.

While Irving is making some improvements, he is not a drastic departure from the player he was even last season. So LeBron's comments appear to be more so making a deliberate point about Irving rather than a completely objective assessment of the past.

LeBron is hitting a period of the season where he is biting off the heads of his enemies - mostly metaphorically - and leaving restraint behind. Whatever it may be, it's definitely entertaining as hell.


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