The Cleveland Cavaliers have been struggling to return to a playoff course since LeBron James departed from Cleveland. Although the team has drafted two first overall draft picks and also four players within the top 4 draft positions in total since 2011, success is just not there. Even the trade for the former All-Star forward Luol Deng didn’t seem to make much of a difference for the team. On top of that, the latest reports state that Cleveland’s current leader, superstar point guard Kyrie Irving is considering to leave the team in the near future. Will this be yet another disappointing exit, similar to LeBron’s?
First of all, Irving’s situation has some major differences with James’s one. The explosive point guard is still in his rookie contract and he doesn’t have the right to become an unrestricted free-agent until the summer of 2016. This means, one way or another, the team will be the one controlling his future. Even if Irving rejects a contract extension and even if he receives qualifying offers from other teams during the summer of 2015, the Cavaliers will have the right to match any offer that is thrown on the table and retain their superstar guard.
After all the misery the owner of the team, Dan Gilbert and all Cavs fans went through when they saw LeBron walking away, it’s very likely that the team will do anything possible to retain Irving, even if that means keeping him despite his will to play for another team.
Of course, it will be much wiser for the Cavaliers to keep Irving happy, making him willing to stay in Cleveland than forcing him to stay. But due to the lack of wins this season, such a possibility becomes more and more difficult. The Cavs are constantly trying to find ways to make the team better, improve its chances to win games and to compete for a playoff ticket.
The trade for Luol Deng was one of those moves this season. However, after 13 games with Deng onboard, the Cavaliers count just four victories. Despite all the great expectations that followed Deng’s arrival, the team has not managed to make the difference. And maybe there are deeper reasons than just the players on the roster for that.
As some reports state, Luol Deng pointed out the major flaws in the team’s mentality, the way it handles its players and their behavior during practice. In general, coming off a team like the Chicago Bulls, who have a strong front office and a widely respected coach, into a decomposed team like the Cavaliers, Deng instantly saw the difference. And maybe that’s one of the main reasons Irving wants out.
It’s highly doubtable that Kyrie Irving will exit Cleveland the way LeBron did, if he ever decides to leave. LeBron spent seven years in Cleveland before realizing that he couldn’t get what he wanted within the franchise and he then chose to part ways with the team. Irving could be a goner way before that. No one can really know if Irving will depart from Cleveland or not. The certain thing is this, though, if the Cavaliers continue to not win, the odds of losing Irving get bigger.