LeBron James will return to Cleveland on Wednesday night for the first matchup against his former team as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers. Ahead of James' highly anticipated return to Cleveland, the four-time NBA MVP reflected on the end of the Cavs' era, which he says began the moment Kyrie Irving was traded to the Boston Celtics.

"Everyone knows that when Kyrie got traded, it was the beginning of the end for everything. It's not a secret," James told The Athletic's Joe Vardon.

The story recalls the day the Cavs made the deal and how LeBron was "adamant" that the team not trade Irving. At the time of the deal, LeBron was signing jerseys in Santa Monica, when former head coach Tyronn Lue drove to James and put him on the phone with GM Koby Altman.

Per The Athletic's Joe Vardon:

James was adamant on the call — do not trade Irving, especially to the Celtics. By the end of the call, according to four separate accounts of people present for the conversation, Altman told James the trade would not occur.

Minutes later, on Aug. 22, 2017, word broke that the Cavs agreed in principle to send Irving to Boston for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and Brooklyn’s 2018 first-round pick.

James’ close friend, Randy Mims, and bodyguard Rob Brown came to him with their phones to show him the news. James, who was still signing jerseys, dropped the pen and slumped in his chair. …

James suggested he didn’t feel he was lied to by Altman, so much as Altman was overruled by owner Dan Gilbert.

“You realize at that point in time, take nothing from Koby, because Koby (was just named GM), but at that point in time, you realize that Koby’s not the only one running the team, as (former GM David Griffin) had done, and that’s why Griff was let go pretty much,” James said.

The Lakers, coming off a win against another of LeBron's former team's the Miami Heat, are currently 9-7 on the season. James, who posted 51 points in Sunday's win, is averaging 28.8 points, 7.7 rebounds and 6.9 assists per game. 

Meanwhile, the Cavs are the worst team in the NBA with a 2-12 mark.