“He’s my brother,” Thompson said. “At the end of the day if I need a dog, I need a MF that can hoop, I’m definitely going to put him on my team.”
Irving won’t play against the Cavaliers due to a shoulder injury. The 6-time All-Star has already missed five games this season.
Despite the ugly ending to his tenure with the Cavs, Thompson didn’t hesitate when asked about Irving’s legacy with the franchise.
“His jersey will be retired here,” Thompson said of Irving. “You see that banner right there? That’s what he means to the franchise. He came in with a lot of expectations and he surpassed them all.”
Irving averaged 21.6 points and 5.5 assists-per-game in six seasons with the Cavaliers. He also helped the franchise reach the NBA Finals in three straight seasons (2014-2017). The Cavs won the Eastern Conference without Irving in 2018, before losing to Golden State in the NBA Finals.
Irving may get a lot of criticism for his attitude and his decisions to leave good basketball situations like Cleveland and Boston, but he clearly has Thompson’s respect.
“At the end of the day, when that untucked Kyrie jersey is out, everyone’s scared.”