For years Cleveland Cavaliers fans have pleaded with themselves that Kyrie Irving is not LeBron James.
On the court, of course he’s not. But that’s not their reasoning. The belief is that Irving isn’t James in terms of “not being loyal”.
Basically, Irving is loyal and James is not.
The overwhelming response to that: Wait until Kyrie Irving has a chance at leaving.
And while there was no point in Irving leaving before — mostly because the Cavaliers were still a project and they were still building up around Irving — he’s going to have his first test at that fairly soon.
According to an ESPN report, the Cavaliers will offer Irving a max contract extension in July and if he doesn’t sign it by October, the team will likely be forced to trade him before the Oct. 31 deadline for third-year players to extend their contracts.
Still, with that said, if the Cavaliers wanted to, they could keep Irving on the team — against his will — until 2016. In 2015, he becomes a free agent, but only a restricted one — meaning that Cleveland could match any offer that Irving would receive on the open market.
Which they probably would. If the Cavaliers wanted to go that route.
But why would they?
Why would they put themselves through what they went through with LeBron James? Why would the Cavaliers let it get that far when they could control the way things get played out? The Cavaliers basically have two options. They could either hold all the leverage or they could surrender it all to Irving.
With LeBron James, they surrendered it — allowing him to put them through “hell” with the whole “Decision” thing. If you gave them a mulligan, would they have traded him?
Probably not, but Irving isn’t the best player on the planet. It’s understandable to give the best player in the world that kind of leverage, but why give that power to a player that is at-best a top-10 player in the NBA, if that?
So here’s the deal, if Irving wants out he’s going to be granted out. I don’t think the Cavaliers need to do that dance again of “will he or won’t he”. They can’t do that to the fans and they can’t do that to the rest of the team.
Oh, yea. But here’s the biggest reason as to why Irving probably wants out: this season.
This was supposed to be the year that the Cavaliers make the next leap. This was supposed to be the year that the Cavaliers make noise in the playoffs. And in a horrible Eastern Conference, it WAS THERE FOR THE TAKING. They could’ve easily finished as a three-seed had the team not exploded — or failed.
Andrew Bynum, who other signed in the offseason, was toxic, Anthony Bennett, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft, is a bust, and Mike Brown can’t coach and/or can’t maintain a locker room that doesn’t have Kobe Bryant or LeBron James in it.
Basically, the Cavaliers are a complete mess.
Plus, they traded for Luol Deng, who basically confirmed every bad thing that was said about the Cavaliers locker room.
He doesn’t even want to re-sign there in the offseason, and that’s because they’d probably offer him $10-plus million contract per season.
If we look back in a couple of years and we see Irving in a different uniform, other than in a Cavaliers one, this is the season that we’re definitely going to look back at.
Are these reports coming out if Cleveland is 32-25 and in control of the third playoff seed in the Eastern Conference right now? No.
Is this article even written? Probably not.
Is Kyrie Irving leaving the Cavaliers even a story? Nope. At least not yet.
But it is. And it’s going to continue to be one until either Irving signs an extension or until he demands a trade.
Sad, but true.
So, again, I remind you. We’re going to finally see if Irving “is better than James” or if he’s exactly LeBron James. After a while, LeBron got tired of the Cavaliers not giving him the proper tools in order to win a championship.
Don’t you think Irving is tired of losing in Cleveland as well? Heck, he hasn’t even made the playoffs yet.
If Kyrie Irving wants out, he’ll get out. The Cavaliers will be able to get some solid pieces in return.
LeBron’s decision worked out pretty well for him. Don’t you think that Irving is sitting back, watching what LeBron James is doing in Miami and thinking “what if…”?