Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving remains a key figure in the team's Big Three, which includes LeBron James and Kevin Love, though that trio has had its difficulties coexisting in the first year and a half of its partnership.
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Irving Responds to Report of Unhappiness in Cleveland
Tuesday, Mar. 1
Irving said, via Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com:
There's nothing to really address. 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.
Irving continued with his thoughts on the media coverage surrounding him:
"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."
Irving Reportedly Wants Out of Cleveland
Monday, Feb. 29
Dating back to last year, I’ve been told that Kyrie Irving ain’t too happy being in Cleveland. The situation is not ideal for him. I don’t know the particulars, I haven’t spoken to him personally. It’s something that I’ve been hearing for months; that under ideal circumstances he would prefer to be someplace other than Cleveland.
Cavaliers Have Had Chemistry Issues While Chasing 1st Championship
Irving, 23, is averaging 19 points, 4.4 assists and 2.8 rebounds per game this season for Cleveland. The Cavs have lost three of their last five games, however, and while they still appear to be the top team in the Eastern Conference, they haven't dominated this season like the Golden State Warriors or the San Antonio Spurs.
The team's chemistry—or perhaps lack thereof—is certainly a factor. While the Cavs held a players-only meeting after head coach David Blatt was fired in January to hold one another accountable and air grievances, the team's biggest stars still have clearly struggled to coexist at times.
Irving's style of play has been one of the factors in that struggle. While he has scored at an impressive clip, he hasn't distributed to his teammates as is normally expected of a point guard. As Chris Haynes of Cleveland.com noted, "Irving has to commit to sacrificing his scoring numbers to make his teammates better on a routine basis."
Haynes added, "Behind the scenes, James has been growing livid about being the sole proprietor of making sure guys are involved, and in a rhythm. He's used to carrying such a workload, but on this team, he shouldn't have to. From top to bottom, this is the deepest team James has been a member of. He needs help."
Thus, if Irving continues to distribute at a subpar clip and indeed wants out of Cleveland, the team may have to entertain dealing him in the offseason.
While it's hard to imagine the Cavs giving up on a young player with superstar ability—and certainly they would need to get a star back in return for Irving—another failure to win a championship may be enough for the front office to determine he simply isn't the right fit for the roster as currently constructed.
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