Source: LeBron is game-time decision for Cavs
INDEPENDENCE, Ohio — LeBron James participated in the shootaround Tuesday morning in advance of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ season opener against Kyrie Irving and the Boston Celtics and will be a “total game-time” decision, a source familiar with James’ thinking told ESPN.
James sprained his left ankle 20 days ago — on Cleveland’s second day of training camp — and it caused him to miss four of the Cavs’ five preseason games.
Last week, Cavs coach Tyronn Lue said he thought James would “be OK” for the Celtics game. On Monday, Cavs guard JR Smith was even more confident, saying, “Oh, he’s gonna go. He’s gonna go, trust me that. I don’t care what he’s gotta do, he’s gonna play.”
Dwyane Wade joined the chorus Tuesday.
“We all expect, everyone around expects him to play because that’s what he does,” Wade said. “But at the same time, the decision’s on him. He’s going to make the right decision for what he feels is best for the long-haul season. We’ve been preparing like he’s going to be in there; we also have to be ready if he’s not.”
And James himself tweeted Monday night, “hopefully I can be ready to get it going tomorrow night.”
Lue said Smith would start in James’ place if the four-time MVP cannot play.
It will certainly be a different opening night experience for the Cavs than it was a year ago, when they received their rings and raised their 2016 championship banner to the rafters before beating the New York Knicks.
That team had James, Smith, Irving, Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson in the starting lineup. This Cavs team will have Wade, Love, Jae Crowder, Derrick Rose and either James or Smith.
Irving will be on the other side. The Celtics guard said at shootaround that he was finished answering questions about what led him to make his trade request in July that ultimately led to Cleveland swapping him for Crowder, Isaiah Thomas, Ante Zizic and Brooklyn’s 2018 first round draft pick from Boston.
“Well guys, going forward, I kinda wanted to put that to rest, in terms of everyone figuring out or trying to figure out, or dive in and continue to dive into a narrative that they have no idea about,” Irving said. “That probably will never ever be divulged because it’s not important.
“This was literally just a decision that I wanted to make solely based on my happiness and pushing my career forward. I don’t want to pinpoint anything, I will never pinpoint anything because that’s not what real grown-ups do. They continue to move on with their lives and continues to progress and that’s what I’m going to continue to do.”
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