The All-Star captain and former teammate of the Celtics’ superstar picked Irving to play on his All-Star team on Thursday, as he and Golden State’s Stephen Curry selected teams from a pool of All-Stars before announcing their selections on TNT Thursday night.
While the picks were not televised, much to LeBron’s chagrin, it’s clear that James wanted his former teammate who requested a trade away from Cleveland over the summer.
James appeared on TNT shortly after the teams were announced and was asked about picking Irving, who we learned on Thursday was reportedly threatening to sit out this season with a knee surgery if the Cavs did not trade him.
That report didn’t come up, and James was gregarious in the interview, calling the Irving pick an “easy choice.”
“I mean, I just tried to pick the best available players and to be able to team up back with Kyrie it’s always special along with Kevin Love,” James told Ernie Johnson. “For us to have another weekend to bring back some of the memories we had when we were all together. Kyrie was available on the draft board. He’s one of the best point guards that we have in our league, so it was an easy choice for me.”
James had reportedly not guaranteed to Kevin Love that he’d pick him for the squad earlier in the week, so it’s fortunate that James was able to get his guys to fall to him. If only we’d seen it play out live so we knew what rounds each players were taken in.