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Cleveland Cavaliers

Pregame: Cavs (16-29) at Knicks (18-27) plus more on Kyrie Irving

By Jason Lloyd Published: January 30, 2014
Anthony, Carmelo
Carmelo Anthony is averaging 40.3 points in his last three games, which includes his historic 62-point night at the Garden. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Time: 8 p.m.; Place: Madison Square Garden; TV/Radio: TNT/WTAM, WLEC, WAKR

Injury report: Cavs: Anderson Varejao (knee) questionable; Carrick Felix (knee) out; Knicks: Amare Stoudemire (ankle) out; Andrea Bargnani (elbow) out; Kenyon Martin (ankle) questionable; Iman Shumpert (shoulder) questionable.

Officials: Ed Malloy, Marat Kogut, Eric Lewis

Series: Cavs lead 1-0

Cavs probables

Name Ht, Wt Pts Rebs Asts
PG Kyrie Irving 6-3, 193 21.5 3.0 6.2
SG C.J. Miles 6-6, 231 9.9 2.2 1.1
SF Luol Deng 6-9, 220 18.0 6.1 3.3
PF Tristan Thompson 6-9, 238 12.2 9.7 0.8
C Tyler Zeller 7-0, 253 4.3 3.5 0.4


Knicks probables

Name Ht, Wt Pts Rebs Asts
PG Raymond Felton 6-1, 205 10.8 2.4 5.6
SG Pablo Prigioni 6-3, 185 3.6 2.0 3.1
SF Iman Shumpert 6-5, 220 7.1 4.8 1.9
PF Carmelo Anthony 6-8, 235 27.1 9.0 3.1
C  Tyson Chandler 7-1, 240 8.2 8.7 1.3


* Twitter erupted this afternoon when ESPN's Chad Ford wrote during a web chat that Kyrie Irving is privately telling people he wants out of Cleveland. Reports like that have swirled for the better part of a year now, and it inevitably will come up again tonight when the Cavs play at New York. How convenient, particularly since at least one of the previous reports came out of New York and indicated Irving wants to play for the Knicks. 

* The Cavs control Irving for the rest of this season and then two additional seasons. They can offer him a max contract this summer. In order to leave during the summer of 2016, his first available chance, he'd have to reject a guaranteed offer of $80 million or more and play for a qualifying offer of $9.7 million during the 2015-16 season. But let's be realistic: If Irving rejects the max offer this summer (something no player coming off a rookie contract has ever done), the Cavs would be forced to at least explore trading him. 

* When I asked Irving about his future last summer during a Team USA minicamp in Las Vegas, he said he was happy with the moves the Cavs had made and that "I'm a Cavalier right now, I'm happy to be a Cavalier." I saw him a few weeks later at his basketball camp and asked why he qualified that statement in Vegas with "right now."

* "Right now I’m a Cavalier. This is where I am. All that future stuff, I’m not really worried about,” Irving said at his camp. “I’m living in the moment right now and I’m just trying to get better with the teammates I have now and make the playoffs for Cleveland. That’s the only thing I can do right now is give it my all as it stands right now and that future stuff, I’m not really worried about it.”

* So I asked him directly if he'll sign a max extension if it is presented to him next summer. "I’m not really worried about that right now," he said. "Right now I’m focusing on the year ahead, my third year, then I’ll worry about that in the summer time."

* Read into all of that however you'd like, but Irving has never publicly given the Cavs an overly glowing commitment. He'll get another opportunity tonight when the New York media descends upon him.

* The Cavs and Knicks could very well be in a fight over the final playoff spot in the East and the Knicks are figuring some things out. They're 9-6 in their last 15 games, matching their win total from their first 30 games of the season. 

* Carmelo Anthony is averaging 40.3 points in his last three games, numbers that are inflated by his remarkable 62-point performance last week against the Charlotte Bobcats. He needs 15 points tonight to become the 50th player in history to score 19,000 points in a career.

* Anderson Varejao will be a game-time decision tonight with his knee injury. Varejao went through shootaround this morning and continues to wear a brace on the knee after Markieff Morris rolled into him during Sunday's loss to the Phoenix Suns. 

* "Right away I thought the worst. I thought I was done. Again," Varejao said this morning. "It was very, very, very, very painful. Then it went away. My blood was rushing, (my adrenaline) was going. I said 'I’m going to play.' Then the next day was sore." Varejao said even if he's unable to go tonight, he thinks he'll be back fairly soon. 

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