On Monday, Stephen A. Smith reported on First Take that Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving would “prefer to be someplace other than Cleveland. This sparked speculation the three-time All-Star could be trying to maneuver his way away from LeBron James and the Cavs in the offseason.
Smith has, to put it mildly, a spotty record when it comes to reporting on this kind of thing. His well-publicized feud with Kevin Durant last year is a good example, so it’s smart to take his reporting with a grain of salt. Still, the Cavaliers haven’t had the best chemistry in James’ two years. Despite a trip to the Finals and the best record in the Eastern Conference this season, some feel they haven’t yet reached on-court expectations, either. So, it’s at least conceivable the 23-year-old Irving may be unhappy with the way things are shaking out in Cleveland.
After the Cavs’ win over the Pacers on Monday, though, Irving took a more zen-like approach to respond to the reports.
“There’s nothing to really address,” Irving said. “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.”
“For me, all that other stuff, what everyone is going to say, they’re going to pick one player and it’s going to change every single week,” Irving said. “When they think that we’re down and out, they’re going to choose one player. For me, it has no effect on my life or what’s going on. It’s all about winning and winning a championship for Cleveland.”
For the record, Smith said he never talked to Irving directly, but that it’s “something he’s been hearing for months.” Irving won’t be an unrestricted free agent until 2020, and it seems highly unlikely the Cavs would trade him. Even if the reports are true, it probably doesn’t mean Irving is getting dealt.
Still, for Irving and the Cavaliers, it serves as yet another distraction this season as they try and break their 50-year championship drought.