The four-time MVP spoke out for the first time since Irving said he called and apologized to James last month. While there was a ton of curiosity as to how James would respond, the forward had good things to say, per Joe Vardon of The Athletic.
“Yeah, we’re in a good place right now,” James told The Athletic Saturday night. “Me and Kyrie are in a good place right now. I love the man that he’s becoming, I love the challenges he’s accepted and I always wish the best for him.”
Irving, 26, requested a trade from the Cavaliers during the 2017 offseason. The Cavs shipped the point guard to Boston in exchange for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and a couple of draft picks, one which turned into rookie Collin Sexton. The Celtics’ leader is putting up 23.6 points, 6.9 assists and 4.9 rebounds per game this season.
Although the trade request put an awkward end to his playing relationship with James, Irving learned numerous lessons and leadership traits from the three-time champion. T
he Celtics guard has been under heavy scrutiny since free-agency rumors broke out over his potential departure from Boston. While Irving has been plagued by criticism for his recent quotes, James backed up his former teammate.
“He handled it great,” James said. “His post interview was great as well. Just a lot of things that’s going on in our league right now, and the one thing you want to focus on is getting that team to place where he wanted it to be, and that’s competing for a championship.”
It’s been encouraging to see the two powerhouses patch up their relationship and publicly support each other.