Since then, Irving’s comments to the press have taken a decidedly morbid turn, with the All-Star guard recently telling Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal “It’s an empty feeling you have now that your chances are done. You think about the things you could’ve done, should’ve done — it’s inevitable."
What a difference a few days makes. Here’s Rick Noland of the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram and the Medina Gazette.
So that’s…that’s something.
While Irving’s outward change of heart seems encouraging, it’s hard to believe he hasn’t known for a while now that Cleveland—desperate as they are to not let a second franchise superstar go—would dig deep into their pockets for their prized point guard.
A few positive remarks do not a done deal make, obviously. Still, this has to come as welcome news for a fanbase reeling after a disappointing 33-49 record and a failed playoff push.
There are, of course, some positive signs: In Irving, Dion Waiters and Tristan Thompson, Cleveland has the rudiments of an intriguing up-and-comer. Combined with oodles of cap space this offseason, and a pair of first-round picks in next year’s draft, Irving is somewhat justified in his cautious optimism.
As Mary Schmitt-Boyer of the Cleveland Plain Dealer points, however, it behooves Cleveland to keep all its options on the table:
Here's the thing. If the Cavs decide to trade Irving or Waiters, which is not a given, they would only do so if they were getting a good deal. You have pointed out the pros and cons of each player, although I think Waiters has done a lot of growing up this season. You also are right that if Irving declines to sign the extension the Cavs are sure to offer, they will not be dealing from a position of strength. That being said, trading proven players for draft choices would set the team back into rebuilding mode, and I don't think that's the direction this team is heading.
At 22 years old, Irving will likely just be cresting his prime when this prospective max deal runs out—plenty of time for him to pursue his dreams of championship glory elsewhere, if Cleveland hasn’t panned out.
Needless to say, that’s an “if” Cavs fans are hoping never develops.