After the Cleveland Cavaliers took down the Brooklyn Nets by a final score of 114-85 to finish the season at 33-49, the Cavs' players talked to the media.
Kyrie Irving, asked about the Cavaliers possibly offering him a 5 year max contract, finally shed some light on it, says Jodie Valade, of The Cleveland Plain Dealer:
"I've been a part of this and I want to continue to be a part of this," he said. "We're making strides in the right direction, especially in this organization. I want to be part of something special, and I want to be part of something special in Cleveland."
Read that quote again: "I want to be part of something special in Cleveland."
It's hard to be more clear than that. But...
"I don't have a definitive answer to that right now, but it'll be something special. I can guarantee that........It's a big deal for me and my family if they do offer that. It would be exciting, and I'll make the best decision for me and my family. That's what it's going to boil down to for myself."
The best thing for a 22 year old and his family is 100 some million dollars, which only the Cavs can offer. Signing it ASAP would be nice, because continuity is key. The Cavs can offer Kyrie a max contract extension on July 1st.
Irving spoke about more than that though. He also addressed his growth as a player, and the growth he experienced with his "brothers" on the team:
"This was a learning year for me, strictly that. I learned a lot about myself, about being a better point guard from all aspects of the game and becoming a better leader. That, right there, is a work in progress. I'm a work in progress, and I've already admitted that......I'm pretty sure Coach Brown will be back - which I'm happy about. Until anything happens, I'm not worried about anything with a coaching change or anything with an organizational change or players leaving, or anything like that. I finished the season strong, we all finished the season strong with one another, and it's a brotherhood here. That's the only thing I'm worried about - taking my game to the next level with my teammates."
This is pretty important. Vouching for Mike Brown (which he didn't do for Byron Scott last year) and his teammates is a good sign. When trying to read the tea leaves, it is nice to have concise positive quotes.
The Cavs have a young nucleus of parts that aren't a perfect match, but can fit. They need to want to learn and grow together, and most of all need to be kept together to do that. Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, Tristan Thompson,Tyler Zeller, and Anthony Bennett can play on the same team with the right role players. What the Cavs must do now is identify those players and find some cohesion with this group. Maybe one or two will be gone, but getting 8 new players every year generally doesn't lend to winning many more games and the Cavs would be wise to avoid it.
It was a long, crazy season. But now it's finally over and we can start looking forward. The Cavs will have the 9th best lottery odds and we can get excited about that. A lot will happen this summer and it's going to be interesting to see how it all plays out. Of course, the most important thing is getting Kyrie Irving signed to a long-term contract and, judging from these quotes, it sounds like the Cavs have a pretty good shot at doing that.