Kyrie Irving’s Relationship with Cleveland Cavaliers Only Becoming More Complicated
The Cleveland Cavaliers have had their rough patches this season. They’ve been relatively inconsistent for a top seed (albeit the Eastern Conference), and they’ve had more than their fair share of issues amongst the Big Three of LeBron James, Kevin Love, and Kyrie Irving.
At the trade deadline, there were rumors that the Cavs were looking to deal Love and that the Boston Celtics and New Orleans Pelicans were in talks to acquire him. Now, Irving reportedly wants out—again.
If you followed the Cavs through “The Lost Years” (also known as “The LeBronless Days”), you may remember that Irving was unhappy with the direction of the team the summer before LeBron’s eventual return to Cleveland. Well, Irving ended up with a max contract, and the team made the NBA Finals the next season (last season).
Apparently money and some success weren’t enough for Irving.
“The situation is not ideal for him.” Said ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, reiterating what knows about the Irving situation in Cleveland. “I don’t know the particulars, I haven’t spoken to him personally. It’s something that I’ve been hearing for months, that under ideal circumstances, he would prefer to be someplace other than Cleveland.”
Irving laid the rumors to rest after the Cavs 100-96 victory over the Indiana Pacers Monday.
“There’s nothing to really address,” said Irving. “Obviously there’s going to be some misunderstandings, it’s part of being on a team. For me, as a maturing young player in this league, I know what we have and the opportunity we have in order to be something special. My communication is open with all of my teammates, just knowing what’s going on and how I feel about things…It’s all about winning and winning a championship for Cleveland.”
Yeah, yeah. That’s what LeBron said before he left for the Miami Heat. The difference is, with the Golden State Warriors, San Antonio Spurs, and (some days) the Cleveland Cavaliers being the only three legitimately contending teams in the league right now, where would Irving go? I have a hard time envisioning him winning a championship elsewhere within the next three or so seasons.
Either way, Irving is under contract until 2020. His cap hit this season is $16 million, and that number increases by at least $1 million a year for the remainder of the contract. Good luck finding a trading partner who can also take on that sort of pay structure and still remain competitive in today’s NBA.