For the sixth consecutive year, Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James was named one of the captains of the NBA All-Star Game. This meant LeBron was able to pick his team once again, and he made sure to select his former Cleveland Cavaliers teammate Kyrie Irving. Of course the duo of James and Irving led the Cavaliers to the 2016 NBA Championship and there had been a number of rumors surrounding the possibility of the point guard teaming up with LeBron once again on the Lakers. First during the offseason and again ahead of the trade deadline, the Lakers were linked to Irving as a trade destination and LeBron was open about his desire to reunite. Obviously that did not happen, but James was happy to team up with Irving once again, even though it was in the All-Star Game as opposed to a regular season one in purple and gold. “You know, it’s the first time for us being teammates, so (smiling) — no, it’s always great to team back up with Kyrie,” LeBron said after the contest. You know how I feel about him both on the court and off the court. It’s always good to see him.
“I’m very proud of him. Very proud much the man that he has become in his life right now. So All-Star Weekend is always great to get an opportunity to be around the guys that you watch play, that you admire play, that you compete against, but that you just love the way they play the game of basketball. So tonight was another instance.” James and Irving are a great fit together as the latter is one of the most talented ballhandlers and scorers the NBA has ever seen. The Lakers did make an offer to the Brooklyn Nets for Irving but they declined the offer and ultimately traded him to the Dallas Mavericks.
Irving will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, however, so if the interest remains, James could get his wish and team back up with his former co-star. After being unable to acquire Irving, the Lakers switched course and made a trade for a package headlined by point guard D’Angelo Russell. Russell is a good shooter and excellent in the pick-and-roll but is also capable off the ball as well. And head coach Darvin Ham wants Russell to be his normal self once he is comfortable. “Once he gets more familiar with our movement offense and different things we want to get done in the halfcourt, just being regular ole DLo,” Ham said. “A really good pick-and-roll player, a really good shooter, really not gonna have to force anything. Just play within the flow of everything we’re doing and just be assertive. You run into that problem with LeBron and AD on the floor sometimes where guys tend to defer, defer, defer. But we want him to be aggressive and do what he does.”