NEW YORK: Kyrie Irving said he enjoys being in Cleveland and playing for the Cavaliers, but stopped short of saying he'll take a max contract offer if he's presented with one this summer.
ESPN's Chad Ford reported earlier Thursday in his weekly chat that Irving has privately told people he wants out of Cleveland.
"Thereís been so much so-called reports coming out that I donít want to be here. Thatís what you guys get paid to do, but thatís just so much negative attention," Irving said following the Cavs' 117-86 loss to the Knicks. "I know weíre struggling, but itís not about me. Itís about our team. Itís about us fighting every day for each other and me fighting for my teammates.†
"Yes, Iím in Cleveland. I enjoy myself. I enjoy going out and competing at the highest level for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Thatís what itís about. Itís not about me and itís not about this controversy, ĎDo I privately want out when my contract is up?í Iím still in my rookie contract and Iím happy to be here. And Iím pretty sure Iím going to be here for a long time. Iím not saying anything to tell the future, but Iím pretty sure the relationship I have with Dan Gilbert and management extends off the court. I enjoy being here."
When told he can sign a lucrative contract this summer, Irving said, "I'm aware of that," but stopped short of saying he'd sign here long term.
"Itís still too early to say. Iím still trying to get through this season," he said. "Everybody is trying to antagonize this team and put it on me. Iím here for my teammates, Iím here for Coach Brown and the coaching staff and Iím going to play my heart out every single night for the Cleveland Cavaliers."