The first time LeBron James partnered with a high-volume, ball-must-be-in-his-hands scorer, the Miami Heat's offense suffered fits and starts until finally Dwyane Wade deferred to him.

The early days of James' tenure with Kyrie Irving in Cleveland were so tenuous that James threatened him about assists and once stood in a corner for an entire second half while Irving and Dion Waiters jacked up errant shots.

The third go-around for James and a second dynamic scorer is coming in the form of guard Isaiah Thomas, who envisions a smoother transition than certainly James and Irving had in 2014-15.

"It's definitely going to be an adjustment period but me being older, me knowing the game a little bit more and being a student of the game, I'm going to be able to adjust quicker than somebody else could," Thomas told cleveland.com.

Slow progress

Irving was 22 when he first paired with James. They went to three Finals and won it all in 2016, but some of their clashes are well documented.

Thomas is 28 and in his seventh pro season. Well, "in" isn't quite right, because he's yet to play a game since the Cavs traded for him over the summer because of a right hip injury from last season.

But Thomas appears to be ahead of schedule for a return of on or about Jan. 1. During Thomas' interview for this story, however, coach Tyronn Lue walked by and yelled "100 percent," an indication Thomas will not be allowed to rush back.

"I feel good man," Thomas said. "Every week I'm getting better and better, and I'm able to do more and more, and it's getting there."

Thomas, Irving

When Thomas is green-lit to return, he'll bring with him a skill set Cleveland has sorely lacked since, well, since the Cavs traded Irving.