New Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving called the opportunity to play alongside LeBron James "awesome." However, he said the former Cleveland Cavaliers teammates haven't spoken since the blockbuster trade sending Irving to Boston for a package headlined by Isaiah Thomas.
On Friday, Chris Forsberg of ESPN passed along Irving's comments about James, including confirmation of the lack of contact between them since the deal. Mike Petraglia of the CLNS Media Network provided further highlights from that portion of Irving's introductory press conference:
Irving turned into the franchise's reward for enduring a dreadful 19-63 season in the first year following LeBron's departure for South Beach. The Duke product was the first overall pick in the 2011 draft and played a key role as the Cavaliers started climbing back up the standings.
James returned in 2014, and the dynamic duo spent the past three seasons together as Cleveland became the class of the Eastern Conference. They led the way to three straight NBA Finals appearances, including the franchise's first title in 2016.
The relationship wasn't always smooth, though.
Ben Axelrod of WKYC showcased the often rocky road they traveled together, from a locker room confrontation in November 2014 to Irving laughing as Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry seemingly mocked James this past July.
Yet, Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com reported last month the gold standard of NBA players for the past decade was "blindsided and disappointed" when the point guard requested a trade.
Now Irving and James are set to headline the two best teams in the Eastern Conference. The Celtics' new point guard wants to prove he can be the go-to player on a championship contender, while the Cavs superstar will look to remain unstoppable in the East.
It won't take long to get the first status update on the growing rivalry. Boston and Cleveland will open the regular season against each other Oct. 17 at Quicken Loans Arena.