LeBron James and Kyrie Irving exchanged words in the Cleveland Cavaliers' locker room following the team's 19-point loss to the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday night, and it led to Irving leaving quickly without speaking to the media, multiple sources told ESPN.com.
The discussion was seen as healthy, sources said, with the veteran James voicing concerns about the direction of the Cavs' offense. James scored just 11 points against the Blazers and did not score in the second half, and he was often not a part of the offense. Cleveland is off to a 1-3 start following a last-second loss to the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night.
"There's a lot of bad habits, a lot of bad habits been built up the past couple years," James said to the media moments after the exchange. "When you play that style of basketball, it takes a lot to get it up out of you."
James addressed Irving to discuss the way he'd been dominating the ball in the early going of the season. Irving is averaging just 3.8 assists thus far. He scored 34 points in the 102-100 loss Wednesday to the Jazz but had no assists in 45 minutes of playing time.
Irving hasn't had an assist in more than six quarters, and he's taken 36 shots in that span. The Cavs tied a franchise-record low with six assists, four of them from James, against the Jazz.
"For us, it was a growing process that we have to go through," Irving said Wednesday. "It sucks right now. For us, we're still young, and I'm still learning what's going on."
James expressed frustration for how the offense operated against the Jazz but complimented Irving on his scoring.
"Well, I mean, as far as [Irving's] scoring, it was big time. He made all the shots we needed to keep us in the game," James said. "He made some great plays down the stretch, finished above the rim. It was great."
"You just can't explain [the low assist totals]. There's no way you're going to win a basketball game like that, just having six assists. ... We just can't win like that, and we got to figure out a way to help each other and not make it so tough."
As reaction to his comments picked up steam on social media, James tweeted an update of sorts:
In the words of the great @AaronRodgers12 "RELAX"— LeBron James (@KingJames) November 6, 2014