Kyrie Irving deflects questions regarding his future

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Kyrie Irving is one of the best young players in the NBA right now and the centerpiece of a Cleveland Cavaliers squad that could develop into a very good team in a couple of years. The team’s point guard was hesitant to confirm that he’d still be a Cavalier when the team’s potential meets reality, however, when he was questioned at his basketball camp this weekend.

Irving is eligible for a five-year contract extension worth $80 million next summer, but he was hesitant to talk about accepting that offer while talking to the Akron Beacon Journal’s Jason Lloyd over the weekend.

“I’m not really worried about that right now. Right now I’m focusing on the year ahead, my third year, then I’ll worry about that in the summertime,” Irving said. “Right now I’m a Cavalier. This is where I am. All that future stuff, I’m not really worried about.”

Irving’s comments obviously don’t mean that he’s intent on turning down the max offer when it’s extended next summer, but it wasn’t exactly a ringing endorsement that he plans to stay when his rookie contract ends, either. That portion has to be a bit surprising to the Cavs, considering they’ve built around him with a young team that also includes top-five picks Anthony Bennett, Dion Waiters and Tristan Thompson along with the high-impact, injury-prone Andrew Bynum in the center slot.

The Cavs wouldn’t be lost without Irving, but the young All-Star certainly isn’t easily replaceable. And, if he forces the Cavs to try and do just that, the fan base that lost LeBron James isn’t going to be happy to lose another former No. 1 pick — especially if he joins a ready-made championship team somewhere else.

Rockets’ Clint Capela on Warriors: ‘I expect to beat them’

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During the 2014-15 season, Rockets star James Harden said the Warriors “ain’t even that good.”

Golden State went on to reach the last three NBA Finals, twice beating Houston in the playoffs, and win two championships.

The Rockets have since re-tooled around Harden, Chris Paul and several quality role players and are in first place. Houston looks like the biggest threat to the Warriors in the Western Conference.

Rockets center Clint Capela on the Warriors, via Dave Schilling of Bleacher Report:

“I expect to beat them,” Capela says.

That’s a fine sentiment. Saying it publicly is another matter. Not even Harden did that a couple years ago. He was recorded during a pregame team huddle.

There’s a fine line between self-fulfilling confidence and providing bulletin-board material to the opponent. There’s already some animosity between the teams stemming from the Stephen Curry-Harden MVP race in 2015, and it has bubbled since. No matter how harmless Capela’s remark might have been intended to be, it’ll be met contentiously in the Bay Area.

PBT Extra Player of the Week: Victor Oladipo

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Oklahoma City traded for Victor Oladipo out of Orlando to be their third scorer, behind Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. It didn’t exactly work out that way, Durant bolted town and when Westbrook went off Oladipo was looking for a place to fit in.

That place turned out to be the Pacers.

Oladipo has been playing like an All-Star this season with Indiana, and last week he was key in snapping Cleveland’s 13 game win streak, then turned around and dropped 47 points on Denver. For the week he averaged 35.7 points a game, shot 45.7 percent from three, plus grabbed 7.7 rebounds per game.

That will get you named the PBT Extra Player of the Week.

Watch Pacers fan boo Paul George during introductions (video)

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Paul George – who told the Pacers he’d leave in free agency, prompting them to trade him to the Thunder – expected boos in his return to Indiana.

Pacers fans delivered.

They’ve also booed him every time he has touched the ball, which will certainly persist.

John Wall returns for Wizards-Grizzlies

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Point guard John Wall was in the Washington Wizards’ lineup Wednesday night against the Memphis Grizzlies after missing nine games with a sore left knee.

Coach Scott Brooks said Wall would play in the mid-20-minute range, perhaps a bit more.

The Wizards (14-13), currently in first place in the Southeast Division, went 4-5 in Wall’s absence.

“He such a force offensively,” Brooks said of Wall. “He’s a two-way player and he’s one of the few guys in the league that can find open 3-point shooters going 100 miles an hour in transition.”

Wall, 27, is averaging 20.3 points and 9.2 assists per game.