kyrie

Report: Kyrie Irving has been telling people he wants to leave Cleveland Cavaliers

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The Cleveland Cavaliers went 21-45 Kyrie Irving’s rookie year, 24-58 his second year and are 16-29 in his third year.

It’s 27 degrees in Cleveland right now, the warmest it’s been there in days.

Why wouldn’t Irving want out?

Apparently, he’s struggling to find reasons, too.

Chad Ford of ESPN:

Kyrie Irving has been telling people privately he wants out. Cleveland can’t afford to lose him and LeBron. They know the urgency. I expect them to be major players at the deadline.

If Irving needs a reminder why he should stay in Cleveland, here it is: money. Lots and lots of money.

Irving is in just his third season.

LeBron spent seven seasons with the Cavaliers before bolting for Miami. Ditto Chris Bosh with the Raptors. Carmelo Anthony was with the Nuggets seven-and-a-half seasons before forcing a trade to New York. Dwight Howard didn’t force his way out of Orlando until he already spent eight years with the Magic.

The NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement is designed to keep elite first-round picks with their original team at least six-to-eight years. A player choosing to leave sooner – and he won’t even get full control of the decision until after his fifth year at the soonest – comes at a significant cost.

Irving is under contract for $7,070,730 next season. Not much he can do about that besides pout.

The following summer, he’ll be a restricted free agent.

He can accept  a one-year, $9,191,949 qualifying offer and become an unrestricted free agent in 2016 – the very soonest he can reach that status. Or, in 2015, Irving can sign a five-year contract worth more than $80 million (even more if he starts next season’s All-Star game or makes at least the All-NBA third team this season and next) with the Cavaliers. He could also accept a little less from another team on a four-year deal. However, the Cavaliers would have the option to match that contract, and they surely would.

So, $9,191,949 or more than $80 million? What do you think Irving will choose?

He might want to leave the Cavaliers, but the odds of it happening anytime soon are low.

Report: LeBron James might not play for Team USA in 2016 Olympics because Kobe Bryant won’t

Kobe Bryant (L) and team mate Lebron James of the U.S. sit on the bench during the game against France during their men's Group A basketball match at the London 2012 Olympic Games in the Basketball arena July 29, 2012. REUTERS/Mike Segar
REUTERS/Mike Segar
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LeBron James admires Kobe Bryant.

How much?

Kobe pulling his name from 2016 Olympic consideration (perhaps an informed preemptive gesture just before the roster finalists were announced) might keep LeBron off Team USA.

Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report:

Bryant not pursuing a spot on the U.S. Olympic basketball team this summer is a very real reason James might also not join the team, according to NBA sources.

James is that disappointed the Rio Olympics will not serve as the final, ultimate celebration of Bryant’s career—and more so that James won’t have the priceless honor of being Bryant’s co-star teammate when it ends.

I don’t buy this.

Kobe said during the 2012 Olympics those would be his final Olympics. Two weeks later, LeBron said he wanted to play in 2016.

Did playing with Kobe on Team USA become more important to LeBron over the last few years?

I suppose it’s possible. Many got behind sending Kobe to Rio as a sendoff into retirement. Perhaps, LeBron got attached to the idea and became bitter once it fell through.

I just have a hard time believing LeBron would tie his decision so strongly to another player. Remember, he left one of his best friends, Dwyane Wade, in Miami to sign with the Cavaliers. Would Kobe’s presence really dictate LeBron’s outlook?

LeBron has been mum on his plans for Team USA. I’m sure the length of Cleveland’s playoff run and the toll it takes on his body will factor. He might not yet know what he’ll do.

The ball is in his court, which can be challenging. There has been backlash from media and fans against players who turn down Team USA, and LeBron could be trying to avoid that.

I trust Ding was told LeBron felt this way, but nobody – including me, including Ding – can know what’s in LeBron’s head. But this report strikes me as LeBron setting up the ability to attribute his absence to Kobe’s rather than facing the full brunt of reaction that comes to turning down Team USA.

Did the Clippers reenact Paul Pierce being stabbed during pregame introductions? (video)

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The Clippers got hyped for Paul Pierce‘s potential last game in Boston by… reenacting the time Pierce got stabbed there? If not, it sure looks like it.

Mock fighting is the norm for the Clippers’ pregame, but I haven’t seen a single player targeted like this. Whatever gets you pumped, I guess.

Markieff Morris flips off Suns fan (video)

Phoenix Suns' Markieff Morris reacts to a call during the second half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Golden State Warriors, Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2016, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)
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Markieff Morris‘ frustrations last night didn’t end with his scuffle with teammate Archie Goodwin. They didn’t end with the Suns’ loss to the Warriors, either.

As Morris was leaving the court, a fan heckled him: “Markieff, you f—ing suck. I can’t wait until you’re traded.” Though Morris probably agrees with the second sentence, he flipped off the fan:

Though it’s difficult to confirm that video was from last night, it jibes with a previous report of the incident.

John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7

Morris will likely at least be fined. Considering his previous behavioral problems this season – he threw a towel at Jeff Hornacek – I wouldn’t completely rule out a suspension. But a fine seems most likely.

Dwight Howard commits ridiculously sloppy inbound violation (video)

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An embarrassing lack of focus by the Rockets? I can hardly believe it.

Late in a game against a team Houston is battling for playoff position, Dwight Howard was just careless, stepping on the baseline as he inbounded the ball. It’s a needless goof, and he’ll get plenty of deserved criticism for it.

But don’t overlook Patrick Beverley‘s frustration foul on Damian Lillard before the ensuing inbound. That was nearly as foolish and even more costly.

The sequence sparked a 7-0 run for the Trail Blazers, who seized control of the game en route to a 116-103 win.