Given the history of the Cleveland Cavaliers, most notably how LeBron James left the team in free agency in the summer of 2010, it’s not difficult to understand why people would speculate negatively about the future of the team. Recently, that’s trickled down to speculation about the future of Kyrie Irving in the NBA and with the Cavs.
However, Irving is none too pleased about all of the discussion about whether or not he’ll leave Cleveland when he’s able to. In fact, he’s downright angry about it and said so about a week ago when he sent out a few tweets expressing his frustration with the situation. In summation, Irving blasted the “negativity” that it brings to him and the team and said “it can stop now.”
How did Irving follow up his statements that expressed his obvious anger and frustration with the situation? The next night he went out onto the floor and put up 44 points, eight assists, seven rebounds and three steals on 16-31 shooting and 5-9 three-point shooting. Though it was in a losing effort, it was clear that Kyrie was playing with a chip on his shoulder and it was a thing of beauty.
In their only game since then, a contest on Wednesday night against the Detroit Pistons, the Cavs were up big and Irving only played 23 minutes with no real need to play with a chip on his shoulder or to produce at an extremely high level. However, that doesn’t change that we need to see Irving play with this type of passion and vitriol every night he’s on the floor.
Much like the narrative with LeBron before recent years, we’ve never seen the killer-instinct from Kyrie. Yes, he’s stepped up in clutch situations and doesn’t fear the big shot, but that’s a different mentality. We’ve never seen Kyrie consistently take the floor with a “you can’t and won’t stop me” mentality. Perhaps that’s the next step for him and perhaps these rumors about him leaving Cleveland will set that into motion.
There’s no way to guarantee what move Irving will make when he becomes a free agent. With that, though, there’s also no guarantee that he’s leaving. What we can be sure of is that, if he plays with the mentality of having a chip on his shoulder, his rise to superstardom might not be delayed any longer.