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Brian Windhorst: Kyrie Irving doesn’t want to be in Cleveland, that should impact contract extension talks

Apr 4, 2014, 6:52 PM EDT

Cleveland Cavaliers v Phoenix Suns Getty Images

The NBA’s elite young players always take the first extension to your rookie contract.

Cleveland will offer one this summer and Kyrie Irving will sign it. He’s making $5.6 million this year, the first year of his extension will be north of $14 million (we don’t know the exact figures, it would be 25 percent of the salary cap that year). You sign that deal because it is “set your family up for generations” money. Everyone signs it — LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard and maybe next Kevin Love forced their way out of situations, but they signed that extension and played a few more years under it first.

However, don’t mistake that with Kyrie Irving being happy in Cleveland — which means he may ask for an opt-out after three seasons (as LeBron did in Cleveland, just to point out the scar).

Brian Windhorst of ESPN — who covered LeBron and the Cavaliers for the Plain Dealer and still is well connected there — was bunt about the Irving situation in a conversation with Robert Attenweiler of Cavs the Blog (you should go read the entire post):

The truth is [Kyrie’s] camp has been putting out there for years – years – that he doesn’t want to be in Cleveland. That they don’t want him in Cleveland. He doesn’t like Mike Brown. He didn’t like Chris Grant. He doesn’t like Dion Waiters. He’s already gotten a General Manager fired. He might get Mike Brown fired. This is the last time – once he signs he loses all of his leverage – so this is the last time he gets to enact leverage. I know he’s said all the right things so, fine, on July 1, when they offer a max contract – which they will – and I don’t even know if he’s a max player, but you have to sign him – sign a five year, no out. That’s what a max contract is. A max contract is five years, no out. If you want out or you want three years, that’s not a max contract. You want three years? Okay, we’ll give you $12 million a year. We’re not giving you the full thing….

I think this is very elementary from Dan Gilbert’s perspective. If Kyrie wants to play for Team USA, he’s going to have to do his deal before mid-July when he goes to play for it and he’ll either take the five years or he won’t. If the answer is “no” to five years, he goes on the trade block. Period. I think it’s pretty simple.

About that LeBron James pipe dream that some in Cleveland cling to…

And the other thing is: if the Cavs ever dream of having LeBron, it’s not going to be with Kyrie there. LeBron and Kyrie have drifted apart in the last few years, even to the point that if the Cavs wanted to get LeBron they would maybe trade Kyrie for someone who would fit better with LeBron. And I’m not making that up. That line of thinking was not originated by me. That’s just the truth.

LeBron is not coming back to Cleveland this summer. Whatever happens in Miami he’s not going anywhere. Maybe LeBron comes back to Cleveland to finish out his career, maybe, but that doesn’t happen now.

Windhorst is up front in this conversation, calling Irving an immature 21-year-old and Waiters an immature 22-year-old, two guys who could try to figure out how to play together but instead are in a silly competition with one another.

Cleveland needs a strong hand to steer the ship at this point, to set a direction for what kind of team they are trying to build and what kind of players they need to do it. A guy who can keep the owner at arms length from basketball decisions. A guy that can get Irving’s attention and guide him down the right path. A guy like what Phil Jackson wants to do for the Knicks.

I’m not sure that guy exists, but Windhorst is making public what a lot of people around the league have said about the Cavs for a while. They are not just bad on the court.

  1. lilyen311 - Apr 4, 2014 at 7:04 PM

    Stop reporting about Cleveland Mr. Windhorst. You followed your man to Miami to be his megaphone. Stay there and leave Cleveland alone!

    • pantsfreezone - Apr 4, 2014 at 7:38 PM

      You can have Windhorst back. Miami doesn’t want him. He really doesn’t have a beach body.

      • jeffkx - Apr 5, 2014 at 7:55 AM

        We had him here in Cleveland and I’m going to pull the “no give backies” card here. Send him to NY.

  2. lilyen311 - Apr 4, 2014 at 7:05 PM

    Stop reporting about Cleveland Mr. Windhorst. You moved to Miami to be his megaphone. Leave Cleveland and the CAVS alone.

  3. jamesk2465 - Apr 4, 2014 at 7:18 PM

    this is like the third time he’s written this already like seriously like it’s getting the point where it’s annoying.

    • casualcommenter - Apr 5, 2014 at 12:32 AM

      Completely agreed. Windhorst has literally reported the exact same thing 3 times this season, spaced out by around 2 months each, and somehow gotten front page treatment each time.

      We get it.
      According to Windhorst’s sources, Kyrie Irving doesn’t want to be a Cavalier anymore.

  4. jamesk2465 - Apr 4, 2014 at 7:21 PM

    Cavs are 2 games back from the 8th spot and have a easier record than the knicks and hawks, but you never hear them being mentioned at all

    • lj312chicago - Apr 4, 2014 at 7:50 PM

      what do you want a pat on the back for being 2 games out in the Eastern Conference……cmon

    • lj312chicago - Apr 4, 2014 at 7:57 PM

      LMAO he say’s he wants more reporting/articles on the 10 seed in the Eastern Conference……that’s what local reporting is for….Cavs are 31-45 and losing to the Hawks right now cmon on james….

      • jamesk2465 - Apr 4, 2014 at 8:26 PM

        No one said anything bout a pat on the back. My point is they’ve been 16-12 since griffin became GM. Why not talk bout how they’re playing better than bringing up old stuff that’s been talked about since the beginning f the season

    • abchome - Apr 5, 2014 at 1:18 AM

      Don’t be ridiculous. 10th seed in the East… what?

  5. eugenesaxe1 - Apr 4, 2014 at 7:27 PM

    If the kid wants out, can’t he just sign a 1-year deal and leave after that as an UFA? If he’s that Hell-bent on leaving, I certainly wouldn’t risk big money on him. Give him his one-year max deal and shop him for the best deal you can get.

    • casualcommenter - Apr 5, 2014 at 12:40 AM

      The simplest way for him to leave would be to play out 1 extra year and then become an unrestricted free agent, rather than signing an early max deal as a restricted free agent.

      The only avenue of earlier “escape” is to pressure the Cavaliers into a trade by saying that he is 100% going to leave as a free agent no matter what they offer him. However, most players end up just signing the max deal as soon as possible to minimize injury risk.

    • jeffkx - Apr 5, 2014 at 7:45 AM

      That’s been discussed here in Cleveland. Everyone that I have heard has said how unlikely that is. With his injury history I find it unlikely he would risk turning down huge money to sign a one year deal. I also read what you are suggesting has never been done before..but this is Cleveland so there’s always a chance we will be the first.

  6. ringjames - Apr 4, 2014 at 7:47 PM

    If he signs a max contract it’ll be bad for both parties.

    He’ll get his money, but he wouldn’t want to be there the whole 5 years. But if he request a trade, what big market team would trade for an overpaid injury prone poor man’s Westbrook?

    His best bet is to leave once his rookie contract expires. Being on another team could increase his market value.

  7. lj312chicago - Apr 4, 2014 at 7:51 PM

    Kyrie Irving….most over rated point guard in the league…never even led Cleveland to a 500 record…….HE’S PERFECT FOR NEW YORK! LOL

    • hartdaddy - Apr 4, 2014 at 8:13 PM

      The dude is like 20, chill wit that overrated ish my man.

      • sire2334 - Apr 4, 2014 at 11:32 PM

        As of RIGHT NOW…he’s overrated.

  8. takemytalentstosoutheuclid - Apr 4, 2014 at 8:32 PM

    There are only two things Windhorst can report on. Lebron, and his “good connections” with the Cavs. This tool knows as much about what’s going on with Kyrie Irving as he did about what Lebron’s “decision” was before it was up on national tv. If he is so well connected to Lebron, how come we never see any exclusive interviews? Because Lebron don’t like him, that’s why. He always has “sources”, and loves to mess with the fans in Cleveland because so many of them give him crap about following LBJ to South beach. Give it up, Windhorst.

  9. djshnooks - Apr 4, 2014 at 9:23 PM

    Just because he is 20 doesn’t mean he is not overrated. He’s not a bust, but he is absolutely overrated at this point.

    He was hailed as the next big thing. He was the #1 overall pick…and he has not played like it, or taken his team anywhere.

    He certainly has not lived up to expectations. He is overrated right now. No doubt about it, just an average player.

    Knowing much more about Waiters, I’d rather have him…he has a killer instinct when he is “the man” I’m control of the ball.

    Too bad they can’t co-exist with each other.

  10. chiadam - Apr 4, 2014 at 10:48 PM

    His camp has put it out there for years? Isn’t this just his third year in the league?

    • jeffkx - Apr 5, 2014 at 7:48 AM

      Agreed. The article also says the last few years LeBron and Kyrie have “drifted apart”. I’m far from an expert on Kyrie’s personal life or even LeBron’s for that matter, but I have never even heard they were ever close. The only thing we in Cleveland have been told is that LeBron and Tristan Thompson are kind of close because Tristan and LeBron’s share the same agent. We here in Cleveland have been scratching our heads at this article since it was published.

  11. BrownsTown - Apr 4, 2014 at 11:25 PM

    The grammar police just issued an APB for lj312chicago.

  12. southpaw77 - Apr 5, 2014 at 12:22 AM

    Love Kyrie’s handles, 4th quarter magic from last season and the Uncle Drew gimmick but damn, he needs to squash this, this summer, clear out some of these “camp” members, work on his defense, quit sulking when behind and up his game like John Wall did this year. If not he’s gonna be regarded as the Stephon Marbury of this generation, great street ball player but couldnt lead a team anywhere deep.

    As for Windhorst, does this guy have a personal vendetta against Cleveland or what? Why doesnt he trash NY, Philly or the LA Lakers like he does the Cavaliers. No connections in those cities?

    • adamsjohn714 - Apr 5, 2014 at 7:59 AM

      In Philly’s defense, they have a plan.

    • jeffkx - Apr 5, 2014 at 8:06 AM

      I don’t know if he has something against Cleveland, but he did catch a little guff right after LeBron went to Miami. Brian went on the local ESPN station in Cleveland and said some unflattering things about LeBron leaving his hometown to go to Miami…then months later did the exact same thing. But as to why he seems to still have it in for Cleveland, I have no idea. Not trying to be snarky at all, but I think he is a little salty because people are realizing that without him being with LeBron here in Cleveland and then following him to Miami, he’s kind of an average writer.

      • jeffkx - Apr 5, 2014 at 8:09 AM

        Sorry let me clarify since there is no edit button. He’s a really good writer, but his inside info hasn’t been great since leaving for Miami.

  13. ljl2 - Apr 5, 2014 at 7:45 AM

    Kyrie’s tweets sure sounded like he was hurt and pissed; not damage control.

  14. jucam1 - Apr 5, 2014 at 7:59 AM

    I feel for Cleveland, i mean it’s a legit ugly and depressing city, but the people are pretty cool for what i’ve seen. I would move, it would be impossible as a normal adult to stop rooting for the “Factory of Sadness” teams when I moved if I was from Cleveland, but I would raise kids to root for another team. Those franchises are just awful. Keep you’re head up Steamer residents, you guys are brave.

  15. adamsjohn714 - Apr 5, 2014 at 8:04 AM

    Just trade him right now. His perceived value is much higher than his actual one.

  16. turkbox420 - Apr 5, 2014 at 1:32 PM

    ESPN making up stories again. Nothing new here.

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