Kyrie Irving Responds to Rumor He Is Unhappy with Cavaliers

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 1, 2016

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving (2) celebrates with forward Kevin Love (0) and guard J.R. Smith (5) during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Indiana Pacers in Indianapolis, Monday, Feb. 1, 2016. The Cavaliers defeated the Pacers 111-106 in overtime. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Michael Conroy/Associated Press

After the team's 100-96 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Monday night, Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving downplayed speculation about being unhappy in Cleveland.

Chris Fedor of passed along comments from the three-time All-Star, who laid out his mindset about the situation:

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.

The response comes after ESPN's Stephen A. Smith alluded to an apparent discord between the star guard and the franchise Monday that's lingered for awhile. Jacob Emert of the Washington Post provided the remarks the analyst made on First Take:

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.

Irving, who averaged 23.1 points and 5.2 assists per game in February, said he doesn't place much stock in the noise because outsiders pick out one player to speculate about when things aren't going well, per Fedor. He added, "It's all about winning and winning a championship for Cleveland."

The Cavs are 42-17 after Monday night's win against the Pacers and hold a 2.5-game lead over the Toronto Raptors for the top seed in the Eastern Conference. You'd never know it based on how things have gone throughout the season, though.

Cleveland fired head coach David Blatt in late January and promoted Tyronn Lue to fill the void. The Cavs then reportedly held a players-only meeting with the hope of putting any lingering issues behind them as they try to chase down a championship, according to's Brian Windhorst and Zach Lowe.

They're playing well with a 7-3 record over their past 10 games, but the potential distractions continue to pop up. Finding a way to get everybody on the same page is the most important thing during the final quarter of the regular season.

The onus is on LeBron James to make sure any problems are squashed before the playoffs. That's because, while they are the favorites to advance through the East, winning a title means likely having to knock off the Golden State Warriors or San Antonio Spurs in the Finals.

Those two teams have been running like well-oiled machines this season. Meanwhile, it's felt like the Cavaliers' train could come off the tracks at any second.

Whether the rumors regarding Irving are legitimate or not, there's nothing the sides can do to stop the whispers right now. The sooner the Cavs can move beyond these conversations and turn the focus back to basketball, the better their chances of making a deep playoff run.