NEW YORK: Kyrie Irving has privately told people he wants out of Cleveland, ESPN’s Chad Ford reported Thursday. During his weekly NBA chat, Ford wrote about the Cavaliers “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 [James]. They know the urgency. I expect them to be major players at the deadline.”
This isn’t the first time Irving has been rumored to be unhappy in Cleveland. An internet report surfaced over the summer that Irving wanted out, then Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News wrote at the start of this season “There’s long been talk that Irving, a West Orange, N.J., product, wants to come home and play for the Knicks.”
When Irving was asked about the Internet rumor last summer during a Team USA minicamp in Las Vegas, Irving said he was happy with the moves the Cavs had made.
“I’m a Cavalier right now, I’m happy to be a Cavalier,” he said.
He was pressed a few weeks later at his basketball camp why he added the “right now” qualifier in Vegas.
“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.”
The Cavaliers can offer him a max contract extension for five years in excess of $80 million. Asked directly if he would accept that offer if given to him, Irving said last summer: “I’m not really worried about that right now. Right now I’m focusing on the year ahead, my third year, then I’ll worry about that in the summer time.”
Irving did not speak to reporters before Thursday’s game against the New York Knicks. He was expected to address the matter after the game.
Anderson Varejao missed his second consecutive game Thursday with a hyperextended and contused left knee. He participated in the morning shootaround and believes he’s close, but conceded he was initially scared after the Phoenix Suns’ Markieff Morris rolled into him during Sunday’s game. Varejao finished the game, but hasn’t played since.
“Right away I thought the worst. I thought I was done. Again,” Varejao said. “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 he still hasn’t seen a replay of the injury, but he heard the crowd gasp when he fell to the court.
“From the reaction of the crowd, I knew it wasn’t pretty,” he said.
Dion Waiters will be the Cavs’ only representative in the Rising Stars game during All-Star weekend. Waiters appeared in the game last season and scored 23 points.
“I’m happy to be part of it because you can be easily forgotten in this league,” Waiters said. “At the end of the day, I’m thankful. Keep working, build off that, and hopefully get to that next step.”
NBA Commissioner David Stern attended Thursday’s game in his final day on the job. Adam Silver begins as the new commissioner today. The Knicks honored Stern with a brief video tribute during the first quarter.
During Stern’s 30 years in charge, he implemented the draft lottery, the league added seven new teams, six franchises relocated and there were four lockouts.
Jason Lloyd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Cavs blog at http://www.ohio.com/cavs. Follow him on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/JasonLloydABJ. Follow ABJ sports on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.