by Navindra Persaud
Last Friday, Cleveland Cavalier guard Kyrie Irving voiced his frustration over Twitter about the way the media has handled rumors of him possibly leaving the team.
“Sick to my stomach with all these rumors and accusations. Can I play without media guessing at my life and putting B.S out for headlines,” tweeted Irving after a loss to the Atlanta Hawks.
Throughout the NBA regular season, rumors of his possible departure from the team have been circulating after he missed a total of 49 games due to injuries (broken nose, index finger and right hand, along with a bruised knee and, most recently, from a strain in his left bicep tendon).
Unfortunately for Irving, his injuries have not given him the opportunity to completely assume the role of one of the premier players in the NBA. However, the shades of that great No. 1 overall draft pick still show through: see the game against the Charlotte Bobcats last Saturday. Irving managed to score 44 points (his new career high) in just the third game since returning from a bicep injury.
“They’re writing reports, ‘Is he staying or is he going?’” Irving said, according to the Associated Press. “I mean that’s the last of my worries right now. It’s portraying me in a light and it’s bringing negativity to the team that I don’t want. Our focus right now and my focus right now is winning and trying to finish out the season strong. That’s where my focus has been and where it’s going to stay.”
Irving has repeatedly stated that he is happy in Cleveland despite reports such as Chad Ford’s statement via ESPN’s Chat with Chad Ford in which he stated that Irving had been saying that “he wants outs” in private conversations.
That is quite a bold statement to make. These private conversations are supposed to be, well, private. It’s why we haven’t heard other credible sources confirming this as well as Irving himself. It all seems like a he-said/they-said argument — the truth being completely lost in translation.
It seems as though Cleveland cannot escape the shadow of negativity when it comes to their franchise players staying with the team or not. The last time Cleveland was under the spotlight was just three seasons ago when Lebron James decided to “take his talents to South Beach.”
When Irving plays, he is quite effective. His ball handling skills enable him to slash to the basket or create crafty plays that leave defenders scratching their head after he has scored. Irving is still a player to be afraid of when he steps on the court; voicing his frustration is completely understandable.
Still, Cleveland has a chance to clinch a spot in the NBA playoffs but that will require the Atlanta Hawks to struggle and the Cavaliers to find it within their team to dominate the competition before the regular season ends on April 16th.
For now, the media should trust in what Irving says. His story has been consistent. Irving’s only concern seems to be with the team and their run to try to make it into the post season for a chance at NBA championship contention.
The Cavaliers are currently 10th in the NBA Eastern Conference with a record of 31-47 on the season. It is difficult to say that this record is due to Irving or to put any of the blame on him as a player. Neither the media nor Irving will be deciding his fate. It is up to the Cavaliers front office to assess his performance.