While we don’t necessarily believe this and believe it has no foundation, there have been some Internet rumblings this morning about the potential of Kyrie Irving leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers. Thus, we wanted to share with you what has been happening. This is not our endorsement of said rumor and we hope to not lend any additional credence with this headline.
Brandon Tierney of CBS Sports Radio tweeted earlier this morning: “I’ve heard from someone in the know… Kyrie Irving not long for Cleveland.” He later followed up by saying: “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…”
Tierney hosts a radio show during weekday mornings with Dana Jacobson and Tiki Barber.
Irving, 21, will enter his third year in the NBA this coming fall. He was an All-Star this past season, averaging 22.5 points, 5.9 assists and 3.7 rebounds per game in his 59 contests.
Per the website HoopsHype, Irving is under contractual obligation with the team for 2013-14, then the Cavs own another team option for 2014-15. After that, there is a qualifying offer on the table for 2015-16, meaning he’d be a restricted free agent that summer regardless — and likely would agree to a max long-term deal of some kind. Cleveland could match any offer on the table that summer of 2015 with Irving holding no decision over his future.
It’s highly unprecedented for any actually productive rookie first-rounder to leave a team after his rookie deal, because of the rights the NBA gives to teams owning such players. At the absolute earliest, it appears Irving couldn’t leave until summer 2016, which would be assuming he agrees just to the qualifying offer for that previous season and then becomes an unrestricted free agent. Such an occurrence is also a extreme rarity for a All-Star No. 1 overall pick.
File this rumor under the category of “speculation only.” There appears to be no other confirmation of this rumbling and such an occurrence is at least three years away from even becoming remotely possible. Even if such a rumor was true, it wouldn’t actually matter for a very long time.
The Cavs obviously have attempted to improve their team drastically this offseason, with the draft picks of Anthony Bennett and Sergey Karasev, plus the free agent signings of Earl Clark, Jarrett Jack and Andrew Bynum. They won only 24 games last season but expect to compete for the playoffs in 2013-14 under new head coach Mike Brown.
Update: Kyrie Irving just tweeted the following: “I wish I knew ‘someone in the know’ for all my facts, maybe I would go into journalism as well!!”
FOX 8’s John Telich also has the following:
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
So yes, this rumor is just that: a rumor. Ignore as you wish.