This season has been distracting.
No, not distracting in the sense where I can't wait to watch every game because we've shown consistency and we deserve to be in the Playoffs (see, 32-49 record) And yes, I still ended up watching most of the games.
Distracting in the sense that there's a never-ending stream of side-stories. Bad ones.
Andrew Bynum's shot selection. Chris Grant will-he-or-wont-he-get-fired. Anthony Bennet, to League or not to D-League?
But you know who has been at the core of most of the distraction this year? Kyrie Irving. From pouting, to allegedly 'tuning out' Byron Scott, to fan appreciation night, to the alleged Dion Waiters accusation of 'buddy-ball' and holding players to different standards, to bad Dion-Irving chemistry, to the lack of effort on defense and consistency in effort overall, to the Josh Gordon story, to Twitter-rants, to being noncommittal on the extension-signing questions, to Kyrie's 'camp' saying he wants out, and now to the "Jump over the fence, no regrets" tweet and not explaining it when directly asked.
I know he isn't the sole person at fault, and a good amount of the criticism has been unfair. He's young. He's still growing. The spotlight is a difficult place to be in for anyone. He's said all the right things in public about how he loves Cleveland. Plus, Dion Waiters was likely a contributing factor in the early season drama. But the difference between Dion and Kyrie? Dion seems to have grown up a lot this season. The same can't be fully said about Kyrie.
And the crazy thing? This could all be different. We wouldn't be having any of these conversations if, for instance, we saw him leaving it all on the floor every night, especially on defense. To go into games and not turn the game into isolation basketball, passing, driving, and kicking out be damned. To being the leader this team needs, and leading by example. And, he could have quelled a lot of this summer speculation if he ever said he wants to stay here and will sign the extension (and bring many, many championships to Cleveland).
But instead, this is what we get.
Where there's smoke, there's generally fire.
Especially, when you consider that two of the best-sourced Cavs writers Brian Windhorst and Jason Lloyd have said that Kyrie wants out, doesn't like Mike Brown, Chris Grant, or Dion Waiters (Brian Windhorst) and that "the simple fact remains that people who are supposed to have his best interests in mind have been talking about Irving leaving Cleveland since early last season — within the first month of his second year in the league. That is indisputable to me because that’s the first time I heard it myself directly from someone tied directly to Irving. I’ve avoided writing about it much because it will all be resolved this summer" (Jason Lloyd).
And now "Jump Over The Fence. No regrets"
According to Urban Dictionary (from the PD and ABJ), Jump Over the Fence either means coming out as gay, or being trapped in a bad situation and trying to leave before it gets worse. If Kyrie Irving wants to come out as gay, then more power to him. He'll be an amazing role model and will be a hero for LBGT rights. But if he's suggesting he's being trapped in a bad situation and wants to get out? Sounds like he finally might get his wish.
At this point, it's all speculation, and everything will get worked out this summer. But it's good to get a jump and start thinking about our options.
Kyrie has to be considering his future. He has a lot to think about. He's at a crossroads. Does he sign the extension, turn into a full-effort player, buy into Mike Brown's system, get along with his teammates, and mature into the player we all know he can be? Or, does he want out and demand to get traded?
More importantly, so do the Cavaliers. If Kyrie forces our hand and refuses to sign the extension, our decision is easy. But what if he makes big demands? What if he wants Mike Brown fired? Or Dion Waiters traded? Is this a complicated decision?
Not at all. Then we need to trade him.
Tell me, what do you get in a girlfriend who tells you you're not allowed to see X, Y, Z friends anymore? Or a friend who tells you that you have to chose between him and another person? I'll tell you. You don't have a real girlfriend or a real friend. What you have is a ticking time-bomb, and they will blow up next time when they force you to do something similar, again and again.
So what do we do?
We shouldn't take the risk on someone who's prone to immaturity, pouting, not giving his full effort. We shouldn't risk it on someone that's given Cleveland two full years of speculation and sideshows. We shouldn't risk it on someone that isn't 100% committed to the team, to the city, and to working with whatever is put in front of him.
If he signs this summer, doesn't make demands, and fully commits himself to leading this team into the future, then all of this is moot. But if he doesn't? It's not worth it. It's not worth losing more coaches and GMs, potentially losing players, and the constant sideshow reporting with a side of deep feelings of insecurity about the future of our franchise. We don't deserve to be hijacked by someone that can blow the franchise up at will. The only option would be to trade him.
If we do? At least we won't have these constant distractions.