You knew this was coming.
The minute a report surfaced Monday — from ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith on First Take — that Kyrie Irving wanted out of Cleveland, you knew he would deny the rumor. He did that to Chris Haynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, with more of a dismissal of the idea than an outright denial.
“There’s nothing to really address,” Irving said. “Obviously there’s going to be some misunderstandings, it’s part of being on a team. For me, as a maturing young player in this league, I know what we have and the opportunity we have in order to be something special. My communication is open with all of my teammates, just knowing what’s going on and how I feel about things….
“For me, all that other stuff, what everyone is going to say, they’re going to pick one player and it’s going to change every single week,” Irving said. “When they think that we’re down and out, they’re going to choose one player. For me, it has no effect on my life or what’s going on. It’s all about winning and winning a championship for Cleveland.”
Two quick thoughts. First, it’s not easy for Irving or anyone else to play next to LeBron James. He can be demanding, he can dominate the ball, and he’s going to push players he believes can be elite. Not that any of those things are bad, but it doesn’t make it easy to play with LeBron. No doubt LeBron and Irving have clashed at times, probably more than we realize.
Second, it’s all moot. Irving is in the first year of a five-year contract extension, and he is a cornerstone of the franchise — he’s not going anywhere. LeBron isn’t going anywhere. Those two need to figure out how to get along. And Irving does need to work on sharing the ball more getting teammates set up.
Can we all just move on… until the Kevin Love trade rumors kick up again this summer.