Cleveland Cavaliers fans were given another reason to shudder when a rumor popped up that Kyrie Irving has plans to leave Cleveland when given the chance. Irving did what he could to kill the notion before it got out of control.
Brandon Tierney, one of the hosts of TBD in the AM on CBS Sports Radio, tweeted that he was told Irving is "not long for Cleveland."
.@BrandonTierney "I've heard from someone in the know... Kyrie Irving not long for Cleveland"— TBD in the AM (@TBDintheAM) July 18, 2013
I 100% stand by my position regarding Kyrie Irving and the Cavs. If you follow me, you know I am not reckless when it comes to such items...— Brandon Tierney (@BrandonTierney) July 18, 2013
Irving responded soon thereafter with a jab back at Tierney.
I wish I knew "someone in the know" for all my facts, maybe I would go into journalism as well!!— Kyrie Irving (@KyrieIrving) July 18, 2013
Rumors are rumors— Kyrie Irving (@KyrieIrving) July 18, 2013
Meanwhile, John Telich of Fox 8 Sports in Cleveland came out with a report that conflicted with Tierney's original rumor.
Source close to Kyrie " He loves Clev and wants to win. There was even chatter last yr about extension" .. More .. X— john telich (@JohnTelich8) July 18, 2013
Source close to Kyrie also said "in his opinion if there's extension w/ alot guaranteed $ Kyrie signs. He has told this 2players and friends— john telich (@JohnTelich8) July 18, 2013
Tierney did clarify, stating that Irving leaving would be a move made long down the road.
Imminent? Of course not, look at his contract, Cavs own his rights for a while. Long term, to clarify.— Brandon Tierney (@BrandonTierney) July 18, 2013
Irving's current contract runs through the end of the 2015 season (next year being a team option), at which point he would have a few options.
Cleveland will extend a qualifying offer to Irving, making him a restricted free agent.
From there, Cleveland would have the right to match any contract that Irving signs. However, they would probably be more keen on giving him a maximum five-year contract and moving on.
There is the minuscule possibility that Irving decides he doesn't want to stay in Cleveland long-term and accepts the qualifying offer. In that case, Irving would be with the team for another season before he became an unrestricted free agent.
However, the only top 10 draft picks ever to sign a qualifying offer were Michael Olowokandi, Ben Gordon, Stromile Swift and Raymond Felton.
Cleveland will own the rights to Irving through 2016 at the very least, but it's more likely to extend past that a few seasons.
With Irivng being locked into staying with Cleveland for so long into the future, it's hard to report on his intent down the road.
Even just three years from now, the least amount of time Irving would have to spend with the Cavaliers is too long down the road to make concrete statements, especially with the Cavs growing so much over Irving's first two years.