CLEVELAND (AP) — Kyrie Irving will sit courtside along with LeBron James after all.
Irving said Wednesday night that he’s “dressing but will not play” as Cleveland hosts Detroit — its first-round opponent.
Earlier, the Cavs had said Irving would sit out and then announced he would start. Coach Tyronn Lue added a mysterious wrinkle to the situation when he declined to reveal Irving’s status during his pregame news conference.
“You will have to talk to Kyrie about that, please,” Lue said.
Irving, who missed the start of the regular season while recovering from knee surgery, said he wanted to support his teammates and show his appreciation to Cleveland’s fans.
But after discussing the situation with Lue and general manager David Griffin it was decided Irving will rest.
“We kind of made an executive decision,” Irving said. “I trust them and they trust me.”
James will also get another day to rest for the playoffs by sitting out the finale against the Pistons, who beat Cleveland twice during the regular season, but will enter the playoffs as a No. 8 seed.
The Cavs clinched the top seed in the Eastern Conference earlier in the week and Lue is using the last game to keep James, Irving and starters Kevin Love and J.R. Smith fresh.
Detroit coach Stan Van Gundy is sitting his starters as well. The Pistons hosted Miami on Tuesday.
“I’ve never sat guys on the last game, but I’m not sure that I’ve had many with teams on a back-to-back,” Van Gundy said, “and certainly not playing the team you’re playing in the first round of the playoffs. It’s sort of a different situation. I’m not really comfortable with the decision I made, but now that I’ve made it that’s where we’re going.”
The only Cleveland starter playing is Tristan Thompson, who will be appearing in his 370th consecutive game. Lue named Thompson his starter for the postseason, moving him into the lineup ahead of center Timofey Mozgov, who has had a disappointing season.
The Cavs also signed guard Dahntay Jones for the postseason. The 6-foot-6, 11-year veteran played for Grand Rapids in the NBA Development League. A first-round pick by Boston in 2003, Jones has played in 49 career postseason games and is a solid defender.
With Iman Shumpert slowed by an injured left knee, Jones gives the Cavs another perimeter defender.
Jones is excited about joining a team with a legitimate chance at winning a title.
“I’m still the same defensive-minded individual I was many years ago,” said Jones. “I had to adapt and make my niche throughout the league in that respect. I’m willing to do anything on the defensive end and help out and try to communicate and just try to be as vocal as possible.”