Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

Kyrie will do what Kyrie wants to do

kyrie irving leavingWill he stay or will he go?

That’s the mega question that the Cleveland Cavaliers and All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving will face … at some point.

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst is the latest to tackle the question, laying out both the best-case scenario – Irving signs a multi-year extension when the Cavs offer one on July 1 – and the worst-case – Irving rejects an extension and the Cavs decide to trade him by the Oct. 31 deadline for third-year players to accept a new deal.

No one knows how this is going to play out and there is really only one certainty in the whole situation – Irving will do what every pro athlete has done since the dawn of free agency in professional sports, and that is make the decision that he thinks is best for him.

And that’s why we’re not going to worry about this.

Even if Irving turns down an extension, the Cavs don’t have to do anything. They can match any offer he receives as a restricted free agent in the summer of 2015 and control his rights until after the 2015-16 season.

The Cavs can make moves to try and entice Irving to stay, but how effective that will be is unknown. The fans? Nothing we can do, other than enjoy Irving while he still wears a Cleveland uniform.

And the thing is, if he eventually leaves will it really doom the franchise to another decade of ineptitude?

Irving is in his third year and the Cavs are not exactly a squad that give other teams sleepless nights. Absent a dominant finish to the season, the team will miss the playoffs again and are currently 67-138 since drafting Irving as the No. 1 overall selection in the 2011 NBA Draft.

And while it’s not fair to compare him to LeBron James, it’s interesting to note that in his third season James led the Cavs to 50 wins and a second-round loss in the playoffs. And he did that with a roster where Drew Gooden, Donyell Marshall and Eric Snow got considerable playing time and in a much stronger Eastern Conference.

If Irving is the type of player that we need to stress over leaving town, shouldn’t he be able to have the Cavs in the playoffs this year, especially as the roster is much stronger, and the Eastern Conference much weaker, than in 2005-06?

Make no mistake, the Cavs are better and  more enjoyable to watch with Irving on the roster and we hope he resigns.

And we get it. LeBron left. Albert Belle, Manny Ramirez and Jim Thome all left. Victor Martinez, Cliff Lee and CC Sabathia were all traded. But those are shared experiences by the fans and have no impact on whether or not Irving stays in Cleveland.

When the time comes, Irving will do what he wants to do.

Until then, we’re just going to enjoy watching him play and stop worrying about anything else.

(Photo courtesy of The Associated Press)

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