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The New York Post

 

The Cavaliers had planned on showing a Kyrie Irving tribute video in his first game back at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland on Tuesday, until they didn't.

Irving forced his way out of Cleveland in the offseason after starring on the team for six seasons — first as the star in the post-LeBron James years then as a sidekick when James returned following his four-year run in Miami. Irving, frustrated with being James' No. 2, was traded to the Celtics this offseason after telling owner Dan Gilbert he wanted out.

The Cavaliers had planned to honor Irving with a video on Tuesday night when the NBA season started, but then canned it with an unsatisfying explanation.

"We were expecting to run it at a floating opportunity based on the right moment," Cavaliers spokesman Tad Carper said. "We felt that moment never presented itself."

That decision could have been based on several players inside Cleveland's locker room being upset when they heard a video montage had been planned for Irving, according to Cleveland.com.

While Gordon Hayward's gruesome first-quarter ankle injury seemed like a reason to perhaps cancel the video, Carper said the injury didn't "directly" influence that Cavs putting the kibosh on the tribute.

Hayward, who signed a four-year, $128 million free-agent contract this summer, suffered a fractured ankle and is expected to miss most - if not all - of the NBA season.

The Cavaliers ultimately got the upper hand against their Eastern Conference foes, beating the Celtics, 102-99, behind James' 29 points and 16 rebounds. Irving scored 22 points with 10 assists and three steals, but missed a contested, game-tying 3-pointer at the buzzer.

Irving was traded in a blockbuster offseason trade to the Celtics for star guard Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, center Ante Zizic and the rights to the Nets' 2018 first-round pick.

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October 19, 2017
 
 
 

 

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