Cleveland Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue shrugged off any other significance in their season-opening clash with Kyrie Irving and the Boston Celtics on October 17, treating it as an ordinary game. Lue made the pronouncement when asked by reporters if he had any special preparation in their game against Irving., Irving was traded to the Celtics for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 first-round selection and a 2020 second-round pick. “It's one game,” Lue said after Sunday’s practice, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN, adding that championships are not won by winning the first game of the season.

James’ status remains unclear

Meanwhile, Lue said the status of his superstar LeBron James for their season-opener against the Celtics is unclear due to a sprained left ankle that he suffered during training camp. Lue told Joe Vardon of said James’ availability will depend on how he feels on game day. “You got to see how it feels. Just getting the treatment, working the right way and see what happens,” said Lue. The 32-year-old James played in one of five preseason games, scoring 17 points and committing eight turnovers in their 108-94 loss to the Chicago Bulls. According to Lue, James participated in one quarter of practice Sunday and walked through some plays and worked on his cardio in the weight room.

In his 14-year career, James never missed an opener in his first 14 seasons in the NBA.

Fans were expecting a big-time season-opener as James and Irving clash for the first time as opponents. In the offseason, Irving demanded a trade from the Cavaliers, saying he wants to be the focal point of a team’s offense, away from James’ shadow.

James said he was saddened and blindsided by Irving’s trade demand, saying he was ready to hand him the reins of the Cavaliers as their new leader.

Cavaliers in a better position to win

Since James returned to Cleveland in 2014, the Cavaliers went 4-23 without him in the starting lineup. However, Lue said the Cavaliers are much-different now compared to their previous teams, with the arrival of Dwyane Wade, Derrick Rose, and Jae Crowder as new members of their starting lineup.

In fact, Lue said the Cavaliers played well despite the absence of James in training camp and most of the preseason. Last season, James averaged 26.4 points, 8.6 boards, and 8.7 assists in 74 games for the Cavaliers. James increased his scoring in the playoffs, averaging 32.8 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 7.8 assists in 18 postseason games.