Kyrie Irving shows major love to city of Cleveland ahead of Cavs duel vs. Nets

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Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving showed some major love to the city of Cleveland ahead of Monday night’s game between the Nets and Cleveland Cavaliers.

Irving expressed the joy he had landing in Cleveland for the game. He also tweeted an emoji of a ring, likely to symbolize the championship he won with the Cavs in the 2015-16 season.

The Cavs selected Irving with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. He became an integral piece for the team early in his career, and he was a major reason why LeBron James returned to play for the Cavs after a stint with the Miami Heat.

Irving was magnificent in the 2016 NBA Finals, and he was a part of several trips to the Finals for the Cavs when James returned.

Things for Irving in Cleveland didn’t end exactly as fans would have liked, as he ended up requesting a trade from the team and was dealt to the Boston Celtics.

The Cavs received a few pieces from Boston in exchange for Irving, including guard Isaiah Thomas, who was an All-Star in the 2016-17 season and averaged 28.9 points per game.

Along with Thomas, the Cavs received forward Jae Crowder, big man Ante Zizic, a 2020 second-round draft pick and a first-round pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. That first-round pick was used by the Cavs to select guard Collin Sexton.

Irving has since moved on from Boston and is in the final year of a contract he signed with the Nets a few years ago. He and Kevin Durant teamed up in Brooklyn, but the duo has yet to make it past the second round of the playoffs in the Eastern Conference.

Injuries have hampered Durant and Irving since coming to the Nets, but the duo has been solid in the 2022-23 campaign, leading Brooklyn to a 21-12 start. The team has won eight straight games to pull half a game behind the Cavs in the Eastern Conference standings.

Cleveland is hoping to show Irving that it is just fine without him, even though it is clearly appreciative of his contributions to the franchise.

The Cavs, led by Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland, are off to a strong start in the 2022-23 season, holding the No. 3 spot in the East.

The Nets and Cavs are scheduled to tip off at 7 p.m. EST on Monday night in Cleveland.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.