In an interview after the drubbing the Knicks laid on them earlier tonight, Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving spoke to Jason Lloyd about rumors circulating regarding his desire to leave the Cavaliers:
"Yes, I’m in Cleveland. I enjoy myself. I enjoy going out and competing at the highest level for the Cleveland Cavaliers. That’s what it’s about. It’s not about me and it’s not about this controversy, ‘Do I privately want out when my contract is up?’ I’m still in my rookie contract and I’m happy to be here. And I’m pretty sure I’m going to be here for a long time. I’m not saying anything to tell the future, but I’m pretty sure the relationship I have with Dan Gilbert and management extends off the court. I enjoy being here."
A little bit further than the stock denial we usually get, and that is probably a good thing for multiple reasons.
1.) Lloyd just lit Kyrie up a little bit in a recent column, and he is still giving the media long detailed answers, which is a nice sign about his character.
2.) This is Cleveland, we're paranoid, and he gave us an answer that we don't have to sift through tea leaves to get the gist of.
3.) The answer includes liking the teams owner, and his teammates, which is good for obvious reasons.
The other bit of note is when he was directly asked about his extension:
"It’s still too early to say. I’m still trying to get through this season.....Everybody is trying to antagonize this team and put it on me. I’m here for my teammates, I’m here for Coach Brown and the coaching staff and I’m going to play my heart out every single night for the Cleveland Cavaliers."
While it is technically too early to say, it's really not. Kyrie will be eligible for the Rose Rule max (assuming he starts the ASG next year too), and he is not going to be the first rookie ever to turn down a max extension and play for the qualifying offer. It just isn't happening.
"What is the Rose Rule Max?"
The maximum contract length in the new CBA is 4 years, with no Early Termination Options allowed to the player. The Rose Rule Max is a 5 year contract, which can have an ETO after the fourth year. It includes larger annual raises, and thus, a whole lot more money.
Long story short, Kyrie is probably not turning it down.
- Cleveland Cavaliers vs. New York Knicks Final Score: Cavs take comedy show on the road, lose 117-86.
- ESPN's Chad Ford: "Kyrie Irving has been telling people privately he wants out"
- Cleveland Cavaliers vs. New York Knicks Preview: Kyrie Irving returns to Madison Square Garden on TNT
- Austin Carr's retired jersey stolen from Quicken Loans Arena
- Dion Waiters selected to BBVA Rising Stars Challenge, Anthony Bennett left out