NBA AM: Kyrie Irving Gets The Big Question
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The $100 Million Question: So in case you missed this, during a visit to local school Cavalier guard Kyrie Irving was answering questions from the little kids in the room and of course he gets hit with the burning question everyone has about Irving and the Cavs – “Are you going to leave us like LeBron left us?”
Irving, being the smooth operator that he is, replied “That’s a great question… ummm, No! I won’t leave. I am not leaving.”
Now if you look at the cynics that commented on the CavsForever Instagram post, the reaction wasn’t one of belief and trust, after all what was Irving going to say? Tell the little kids that when he can explore his options as an unrestricted free agent he has to look for the place he can win a championship? He would have been booed off the stage.
UPDATE: Jason Lloyd of Akron Beacon Journal just tweeted that the video in question was from three years ago, during the lockout before he’d even played a game for the Cavaliers.
Here is the truth of how things work in the NBA: Players don’t get to choose where they are drafted, especially top tier talent like Irving. Their existing teams can control their free agency through early extensions or restricted free agency, so the truth of the matter is even if Irving wanted to leave, he won’t have the chance to make that decision for at least five to six more seasons, unless he leaves mountains of money on the table.
Rookie scale players rarely, if ever, turn down their first monster payday. The Cavs are going to give Kyrie Irving a maximum contract offer next July. He is that good of a player and the Cavs will lock him into Cleveland for the foreseeable future.
What happens after that, well that’s when things become unclear.
Can anyone really say they know what the NBA will look like in six years? What teams will have cap space or be in contention for a championship?
Was Irving being genuine that he won’t leave Cleveland? Sure. He won’t have the option to leave Cleveland for enough years that talking about it today is somewhat silly.
Rookie scale players don’t refuse max contracts. Because of that, Cleveland has a pretty long runway with Irving. Now like James, if the Cavs can’t get themselves in the position to really win and win big inside the next six years Irving’s answer and committed stance to Cleveland might change. But for now, Irving has everything he could want in Cleveland and next summer the Cavs are going to give him even more.
Until a player reaches the end of his first major contract, the odds are they are staying right where there are, unless their team opts to trade them.
In Irving’s case to talk about when he might leave Cleveland is so far down the road, the absolute best answer to his future is the one he knows and that’s to stay right where he is at and that’s Cleveland.
Did you miss some of these: Dr. Travis Heath shares his view of the ever changing NBA, and how it’s affected him as a fan of the game. Jabari Davis will be watching the MVP race this season. Here is his first installment of MVP Watch. Moke Hamilton is holding down the NBA Power Rankings this season. Here is the first installment. Joel Brigham will be watching the Rookie of The Year race in the NBA. Here is his first installment of the NBA Rookie of The Year Watch.
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Everyday I’m Shumplin’: This story has been told, but it seems fitting to share it again.
During Iman Shumpert’s rookie year he was scheduled to compete in the NBA Dunk Contest in Orlando. Just prior to the event, Shumpert got hurt and was a scratch. This was at the height of Linsanity in New York, and the story of Jeremy Lin sleeping on Landry Fields’ couch was making its way around the NBA.
Shumpert, who is an impressive dunker, came up with a dunk that would have featured him dunking over a couch, with a sleeping Jeremy Lin under the some covers.
Shumpert’s plan was to dunk over the couch, Lin pop up, and Shumpert rip open him warm-up jacket to reveal a t-shirt that said “Everyday I’m Shumplin’” – it would have truly been an epic dunk.
This summer Shumpert put away the dunking and worked on his mid-range game and his corner threes; his spots in the Knicks offense.
Last night he was perfect, shooting 7-for-7 from the field and 3-for-3 from the three point line to kick in a solid 18 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists.
With J.R. Smith still sidelined due to knee injury there is a window for Shumpert to not only play a bigger role for the Knicks, but he’s making a strong case in training camp and in preseason to be the starter at the two guard spot.
While Shumpert never got a chance to make his name through dunking, it starting to look like he’ll get his chance with his shooting and that’s always worth more than the gleaming moment during All-Star weekend.
Knicks guard Iman Shumpert talks with HOOPSWORLD about his offseason. His focus and what he's been working on.
Lakers Finding Chemistry: There is a big reason why veteran NBA coaches often won’t take a NBA coaching job midseason. It’s nearly impossible to get things moving in the right direction without an off-season, a training camp and preseason to experiment with.
Whether you like Mike D’Antoni or not, it’s absolutely clear that the LA Lakers are better equipped for the upcoming season, in part because they are mostly healthy, but also because they are not trying to re-invent themselves on the fly.
According to Lakers guard Steve Nash, many of those things are coming together.
“We didn’t win a preseason game, no matter if it counts or not,” Nash said to Melissa Rohlin of the Los Angeles Times. “I mean, let’s make a list — injuries, trying to figure out the Princeton [offense], starting the season with a deficit, wins and loss column, changing coaches, everything kind of seemed to fray.
“This year we hope for good luck with our health, but what we really hope for is to find an identity and a cohesion together that we really couldn’t find last year, even if we did win a lot of games in the second half of the season.”
The Lakers have won two of their first three preseason games, which typically mean little in the grand scheme, but the one thing it is giving the Lakers is confidence.
“I think we have a lot of guys that are in a good position to play well in the system and find an identity together,” Nash said.
“The chemistry and the attitude has been fantastic and, as we all know, that can have such a huge role on the team. We know we’re not the favorites, but we feel we have a lot to play for.”
The other thing the Lakers were able to do with a full offseason was gather better fitting pieces for D’Antoni’s style of play and so far some of those part have looked good.
“I think the pieces fit together pretty well,” D’Antoni said. “We have some depth. We have some youth and athleticism, which I think is important to balance out our team. Last year we didn’t have much of that, and I think it hurt us especially in transition defensively. We got a lot of guys with different looks and in different stages of their career that are all trying to impress … they’re looking at this is a real opportunity to try and cement their career.”
Most NBA pundits have written the Lakers out of the Western Conference, and while it is fair to ding the Lakers for losing players like Dwight Howard and Metta World Peace for nothing in return, the Lakers still have Steve Nash, Pau Gasol and should have Kobe Bryant back in the next month or so – that’s three proven All-Stars and possible future Hall of Famers and there have been teams in the NBA that have won more with far less.
The question is can the Lakers get and stay healthy. If they can, the Lakers shouldn’t be overlooked.
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