"It might not even be that good of a pick," James told Cleveland.com's Joe Vardon.
The Cleveland Cavaliers acquired the Nets' unprotected first-round pick, Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and a second-round pick from the Boston Celtics in exchange for Irving in August. Crowder has been the only on-court asset thus far, with Thomas out until at least January and Zizic not part of the rotation.
The Nets pick was largely seen as the best of all the assets, with some expecting it would land inside the top five. With Brooklyn off to a 3-2 start and looking like a cohesive unit for the first time in years, though, it appears some inside the Cavs locker room are souring on the selection.
"We're running around here worrying about getting the Brooklyn pick, they might want our pick," Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said after the Nets earned a 112-107 win over the Cavs on Wednesday.
Injuries to Thomas and Derrick Rose and the struggles of Dwyane Wade to work himself comfortably into the Cavs rotation have been major factors in their 3-2 start. James' impending free agency looms over every Cavs move, and some view the Brooklyn pick as a failsafe in case the four-time MVP attempts to bolt again.
That said, appeasement of the King is always paramount in Cleveland. Eric Bledsoe is represented by James' friend Rich Paul, and his impending exit from Phoenix might make a natural trade partner. The Cavs don't have much to offer in young talent, but sending Channing Frye and Iman Shumpert to the Suns along with the Brooklyn pick matches from a salary standpoint.
The combination of James' public comments and Bledsoe's push to exit Phoenix are interesting at the very least.