Robert Attenweiler of the ESPN True Hoop affiliated "Cavs: The Blog" site recently interviewed a reporter with significant insight into the Cleveland Cavaliers' locker room, Brian Windhorst.
Update: Friday, April 4 at 11:22 pm ET
Irving has addressed these reports via his Twitter account:
This is not the first time he has gone out of his way to squelch these rumors.
---End of Update---
Though he has been with ESPN since 2010, Windhorst's Cleveland reporting credentials are impeccable. He was the Cavs' beat writer for the Akron Beacon Journal from 2003 through the summer of 2008, and worked for The Plain Dealer from October 2008 until 2010.
Windhorst was quite candid about a number of topics, ranging from Luol Deng's impact (or lack thereof) to Tristan Thompson's upcoming contract negotiations.
But, as with most conversations about the Cavs' future, much of the talk centered around All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving. Attenweiler asked Windhorst about the veracity of reports that Irving is unhappy in Cleveland. And Windhorst's assessment of the third-year player weren't exactly glowing:
The truth is [Kyrie’s] camp has been putting out there for years – years – that he doesn’t want to be in Cleveland. That they don’t want him in Cleveland. He doesn’t like Mike Brown. He didn’t like Chris Grant. He doesn’t like Dion Waiters. He’s already gotten a General Manager fired. He might get Mike Brown fired. This is the last time – once he signs he loses all of his leverage – so this is the last time he gets to enact leverage. I know he’s said all the right things so, fine, on July 1, when they offer a max contract – which they will – and I don’t even know if he’s a max player, but you have to sign him – sign a five year, no out. That’s what a max contract is. A max contract is five years, no out. If you want out or you want three years, that’s not a max contract. You want three years? Okay, we’ll give you $12 million a year. We’re not giving you the full thing.
I’m just giving you my feel right now and my feel is that he’s not crazy about [signing the full max extension] unless he gets everything checked off across the board.
This, of course, runs contrary to what Irving himself told Windhorst in late January, when he went on the record as saying that any rumors of his dissatisfaction with Cleveland were not true: "I'm in Cleveland. I enjoy myself. I enjoy going out and competing at the highest level for the Cleveland Cavaliers."
Irving also promised an adorable kid he would stay in Cleveland a few years ago, per SB Nation's Seth Rosenthal...for whatever that's worth.
But there is no denying that there has been some behind-the-scenes discord among the Cavs this season. Some of that had to do with controversial big man Andrew Bynum, who was suspended by the team and eventually traded for Deng. But shooting guard Dion Waiters has reportedly been a problem in the locker room, and the veteran Deng reportedly grew fed up with the Cavs after less than a month.
That's an awful lot of smoke billowing from Cleveland's locker room—and where there's smoke, there's usually fire.
While the Cavs have played better of late—winning five of their last six games entering Friday—those wins have come with Irving out of the lineup due to injury.
The Cavs will likely hire a new general manager to replace the recently-fired Chris Grant in the offseason. Whoever takes the job will have to either ensure Irving's contentment in Cleveland or trade him and start over.