Kyrie Irving has been saying he has no intention of leaving the Cavaliers in free agency a lot the last few months, though he’s mostly qualified it slightly by adding the words “right now” into any conversation surrounding the topic.
Making its way around the Web right now is Irving’s two-year-old answer to the question, posed by a child during a recent community appearance (as seen in the video clip below, via Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sntinel). Back then, with the LeBron James scar much more fresh, Irving was much more straightforward about his plans.
The question, of course, had to be phrased for the most dramatic effect possible.
“Are you going to leave us like LeBron left us?” asked one of the children, who seemed innocent enough.
“It’s a great question,” was Irving’s response. “Um, no, I won’t leave. I’m not leaving.”
It’s worth pointing out that Irving can’t leave anytime soon, at least not if the Cavaliers want him to stay. The team has a contract option that they will most certainly pick up for next season, and can retain the right to match any offer Irving may receive as a restricted free agent the year after that by simply extending him a qualifying offer.
If Irving continues on his current trajectory, he’ll be in line for a max contract from the Cavaliers that will begin in the 2015-16 season, and go for a minimum of three years (if Irving negotiates an opt-out clause). We’re a long way away from him even having the ability to leave Cleveland, but it probably doesn’t hurt for fans in the city to hear him say he’s going to stay anyway. No matter how old the footage is.