To the surprise of many NBA fans, LeBron James drafted his former Cleveland Cavaliers and now Boston Celtics star Kyrie Irving to his All-Star team for the 2018 All-Star game last weekend at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Luckily for him, the decision paid off, as Team LeBron was able to defeat Team Steph 148-145 on Sunday, with James being named as the game’s MVP for the third time in his career, as he finished with 29 points, 10 rebounds, and eight assists.
After the win, the Cavaliers star released the order in which he drafted players to his team, revealing he took Kevin Durant number one overall, Anthony Davis at number three, Irving at number five, and DeMarcus Cousins at number seven (who was later replaced by Russell Westbrook due to injury).
Many fans are still asking however why James drafted his former teammate who reportedly during last summer no longer wanted to play with him, and therefore pushed for his eventual trade away from the team?
According to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, James likely had three reasons for wanting to draft Irving, with the main one being to “send a message” to Cleveland’s front office that he can still play with the point guard and that’s why he never wanted him to be traded.
McMenamin noted that the draft took place while the Cavs were still in full-on meltdown mode with Isaiah Thomas on the team, so LeBron sent a passive-aggressive message to the front office in the form of an All-Star draft to show that he could still play alongside the 25-year-old.
No problems between the two were shown during the All-Star game, as the two combined late in the game to cap off a double-digit comeback in the fourth quarter by connecting for the game-winner. The chemistry between them was still strong despite the fact this was the first time the two were playing together since the NBA Finals.
Where this decision by James to draft Irving leaves his relationship with the Cavaliers though remains to be seen, especially if McMenamin’s report is true.
James and the Cavaliers play next when they host the Washington Wizards on Thursday, while Irving and the Celtics play next on Friday when they travel to Detroit to play against the Pistons.