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Kyrie Irving admits he has not been a leader

Kyrie IrvingKyrie Irving is only 22 and has played just three seasons in the NBA, but it’s hard to remember that when it comes to our quick-to-judge sports culture. Irving has been viewed as the franchise cornerstone for the Cleveland Cavaliers and, as a former No. 1 overall pick and point guard, he’s expected to lead.

But Irving admits he has not been a leader thus far.

“I haven’t been a leader – not at all,” Irving told RealGM’s Shams Charania.

Irving expressed one of the issues that plagues young teams — there aren’t proper examples set for the young players.

“Everybody asks me if this is my year to be a leader … I haven’t been so far though, not at all,” Irving told RealGM. “I’ve just been a kid trying to figure it out. There’s no perfect way to be a leader, and coming in as a 19-year-old kid and having everything bearing on your shoulders, there are a lot of ups and downs. Now it’s about being the best every single day and not being afraid.”

For the first time since Irving has been there, the Cavaliers will be full of veteran leaders who have won. LeBron James, Mike Miller, Shawn Marion and James Jones are some of the players who will bring experience to the team. Irving is looking forward to playing with them and learning from them.

“I’m more than excited with our new veterans. I’m really excited just from the standpoint of how the locker room is going to go and how to really be a professional. I’m not saying that the veterans that we had weren’t professionals themselves, but we didn’t have enough. Given the right and wrong things to do in the league, I’ve had to learn on my own and that’s what some of us been doing.”

Some players are natural leaders, while others develop into them. It sounds like Irving needs to learn how to lead if he’s going to become a leader. For now, being a key supplemental player may be great for his development.

Chest bump to Ball Don’t Lie

Kyrie Irving to Josh Gordon: Stay in your own sport and mind your business

Kyrie IrvingRumors have been circulating that Kyrie Irving wants out of Cleveland. The former Duke star has firmly denied them, but they’re out there. According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, there are several people within the Cavaliers organization that Irving does not get along with. One of them is teammate Dion Waiters.

“The truth is [Kyrie’s] camp has been putting out there for years – years – that he doesn’t want to be in Cleveland,” Windhorst told Cavs: The Blog last week. “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.”

Enter Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon, who is friends with Waiters. During an appearance on ESPN’s “First Take” last week, Gordon shared his thoughts on the Irving situation.

“I talked about it with Dion,” Gordon said, via Cleveland.com’s Tom Reed. “He’s my neighbor in my building so we hang out all the time. I’m aware of the rift in the locker room. That’s just alpha males and supreme athletes trying to share the spotlight. Dion has some exposure right now depending on how Dan Gilbert wants to play free agency or trades. Hopefully they get along.”

Gordon added that it “might play out better” if Waiters and Irving were not teammates next season. The Akron Beacon Journal’s Jason Lloyd later asked Irving what he thought about Gordon’s insight.

“Guys like Josh Gordon need to stay in his sport and mind his own business,” Irving said. “Does he still play for the Browns? I’ll continue to root for the Browns, but in terms of this stuff here, what goes on in this locker room, he needs to stay out of it.”

Irving also said he has no problems with Waiters personally but that anyone can see their playing styles don’t mesh well on the court. Gordon fired back on Twitter over the weekend.

Waiters tried to distance himself from all of the reports:

If the Cavs really aren’t getting along, I’m sure another Cleveland superstar speaking about it publicly makes things more awkward. In this instance, I’m with Irving — Gordon is probably better off minding his own business.

H/T Eye on Football

LeBron James not interested in playing with Kyrie Irving?

Kyrie IrvingNot that it would have ever happened, but there was a lot of chatter — mostly on Cleveland’s end — that LeBron James might return to the Cavaliers at some point.

The thinking was that the Cavs could have an attractive core to offer James since they already have a young, emerging point guard in Kyrie Irving. If they could add another strong player, they felt it might be enticing enough for James.

But it sounds like Kyrie would actually be a deterrent for LeBron.

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst did an interview with Cavs the Blog and dished about Irving. He said Kyrie definitely does not want to be in Cleveland in the future, which is the same story we’ve been hearing. He also said James would not want to play with Kyrie.

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.

Windhorst also shared his personal feelings about Irving, saying the young point guard has disappointed him with his immaturity.

This certainly is very interesting. It seemed for a long time that Irving was going to be a building block for the Cavs turning things around, but that story is changing. He needs a better coach, execs and players surrounding him on that team. Or maybe he just should leave like he may be planning.

H/T Waiting for Next Year

Fan tackled trying to touch Kyrie Irving on court during game (Video)

Fan Kyrie Irving handcuffsWhat is it about Kyrie Irving that makes fans want to run onto the court to touch him during games?

For the second time this season, a fan ran onto the court to try approaching Irving. This fan made his move during the fourth quarter of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ game against the Utah Jazz on Friday night and was promptly tackled and handcuffed by security. His total time on the court was shorter than Andrew Bynum’s stay with the Chicago Bulls.

Was it worth it? Doubtful.

Oh yeah, and sweet beanie, bro.

Below is video of the last time a fan ran onto the court and went after Irving:

Video via The Point Forward

Kyrie Irving crosses up Tyler Hansbrough nasty style (Video)

Kyrie Irving Tyler HansbroughFew NBA players seem to give us better highlights than Kyrie Irving. I mean just look at his dribbling skills. The guy is ridiculous. On this one possession in the fourth quarter against the Toronto Raptors Tuesday, Irving crosses up an out-of-position Greivis Vasquez, and then he just eats Tyler Hansbrough for dinner before finishing with the lefty layup.

Toronto got the win 99-93 over Kyrie’s Cavaliers, but Kyrie definitely had the highlight of the game.

Kyrie Irving reportedly close to firing agent Jeff Wechsler

Kyrie IrvingKyrie Irving is close to firing his agent, Jeff Wechsler, according to a report, and one of the reasons may be because he wants to leave the Cavaliers.

New York Daily News reporter Mitch Lawrence included the nugget about Irving and his agent in his must-read weekend column. According to Lawrence, Irving wants to leave Cleveland, while Wechsler wants him to stay, and the disagreement could be one of the reasons he is contemplating the move.

Irving, the former No. 1 pick in 2011, is still playing under his rookie contract. He has a team option for next season, and then the Cavs can give him a qualifying offer after that. But the team can offer him an extension in July, at which point we’ll really learn whether he has interest in staying with them longterm.

ESPN’s Chad Ford said earlier in the week that it’s well known that Irving wants out of Cleveland, which is something the young point guard denied. Lawrence says Irving, who is from New Jersey, wants to play for the Knicks.

When asked by reporters Saturday about the report, Irving said it was 100 percent false and that he is happy with his agent.

But why might an agent encourage him to stay with Cleveland?

The Cavs can offer Irving more money than another team. Another reason is that it might be bad for Irving’s image to leave the team that drafted him. You would think that playing in New York could offer Irving many more endorsement opportunities, but he already locked up a sponsorship deal with Pepsi, which could be another reason his agent doesn’t think leaving is necessary.

Whether Irving fires his agent or not, it sure seems like he’ll be leaving when he has the chance.

Kyrie Irving telling people he wants out of Cleveland?

Kyrie IrvingFormer No. 1 overall pick Kyrie Irving’s stay in Cleveland may be shorter than Cavaliers fans were hoping.

The Cavs have struggled in each of Irving’s three seasons in the league, and they are disappointing this season despite having higher expectations. Though Irving is still under contract for next season — the Cavs hold a team option for him — he supposedly privately is telling people he wants out.

Here’s what Chad Ford wrote in a chat on ESPN Thursday, so take this as more of a casual statement than an official report:

Virtually every GM in the league believes that Grant will be gone this summer if things don’t get turned around this season. He doesn’t have much time. The thinking is that there’s no way Dan Gilbert is going to let him make another lottery pick if that’s the direction the Cavs end up heading. Grant’s goal (via his owner) is to get this team competitive and into the playoffs. The Deng move was supposed to help. But so far … nothing. Chemistry is a major issue there and some of that is on Mike Brown. But more of it is on the collection of players in Cleveland at the moment. Something has to happen quick. Kyrie Irving has been telling people privately he wants out. Cleveland can’t afford to lose him and LeBron. They know the urgency. I expect them to be major players at the deadline.

Not long after Ford wrote his response about Kyrie wanting out of Cleveland, he clarified and said he thought it was “fairly common knowledge” that Kyrie has been unhappy in Cleveland.

Yeah, I see Twitter is blowing up about what I wrote about Kyrie. Thought that was fairly common knowledge that he’s been unhappy there. Maybe not … Don’t overreact. Much, much harder for players in their rookie contracts to leave. They have to take a much riskier path and essential sign a qualifying offer as a restricted free agent. Very few do it. And the Cavs are working to try to create a winning situation and culture to make him happy. Didn’t report it to say he’s gone. Just trying to show why the Cavs are trying hard to right the ship right now. Back away from the ledge Cavs fans.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise. Think about where the Cavs were entering the season. They had Kyrie going into his third season, added Andrew Bynum, drafted Anthony Bennett, and Dion Waiters was entering his second season. They even traded for Luol Deng this season, but that hasn’t helped.

The Cavs were supposed to be ascending and that was going to help their effort to keep Kyrie. It’s pretty easy to see that if they really don’t improve, Irving will leave when he can.

Also see: Kyrie Irving told young fan he won’t leave Cavs like LeBron did