The Cavs won the NBA's draft lottery Tuesday night, putting the team in position to draft a franchise player to replace James a year after he left in free agency. James said he was glad the way it turned out.
"I'm happy for the franchise and happy for the fans," James said after the Miami Heat's shootaround Wednesday morning as they prepared for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Chicago Bulls. "I think it is a good step for them."
James has known Irving for the last three years, as Irving has been a regular at James' summer Nike camps. James, who also has a close relationship with Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, feels that Irving can be an impact player.
"If the Cavs pick him it'll be a great pick for them," James said. "He's a true point guard who can score, in this day and age in the NBA it is a point guards' league. If they decided to take him, which it looks like, they'll have a good one."
James said he knows that Irving will have certain expectations of him because of the situation he may be coming into, helping step into the shoes that James left as the Cavs' last No. 1 overall pick in 2003. He said Irving shouldn't face the same pressure.
"If it's Kyrie, I don't think you automatically place the franchise tag on him, but he's good enough where, if he continues to work hard, he could be that guy for that team," James said. "It's a tough situation for anyone to be given the franchise tag coming out of college, but I think he's one of the kids who is up for the challenge."
Brian Windhorst covers the NBA for ESPN.com.