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Cavaliers star Kyrie Irving disputes reports he wants out of Cleveland, says, ‘I enjoy being here’


Thursday brought speculation that Kyrie Irving, the dynamic, highly skilled third-year player — and best player on the Cleveland Cavaliers roster — reportedly has been telling people privately that he wants out of Cleveland as soon as humanly possible.

ESPN’s Chad Ford threw the rumor out there during a weekly chat with readers, speculating on many issues facing the Cavaliers, most notably, Irving’s perceived unhappiness.

“Virtually every GM in the league believes that Grant will be gone this summer if things don’t get turned around this season. He doesn’t have much time. The thinking is that there’s no way Dan Gilbert is going to let him make another lottery pick if that’s the direction the Cavs end up heading. Grant’s goal (via his owner) is to get this team competitive and into the playoffs. The Deng move was supposed to help. But so far … nothing. 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. They know the urgency. I expect them to be major players at the deadline.”

Cavaliers insiders in Cleveland even acknowledge that Irving’s future with the team is murky at best, even though he is signed through next season and the team can extend the guard a qualifying offer the following season.

But as far as Irving is concerned, he’s a Cleveland Cavalier and until that changes, he’ll give his all to the team. And he plans on being a Cavalier “for a long time.”

Irving made his feelings known while downplaying the rumors in comments reported by ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.

“I’m in Cleveland. I enjoy myself. I enjoy going out and competing at the highest level for the Cleveland Cavaliers,” Irving said after the team’s loss to the New York Knicks on Thursday.

“It’s not about me and it’s not about this controversy — ‘Do I privately want out when my contract is up?’ I’m still in my rookie contract and I’m happy to be here. And I’m pretty sure I’m going to be here for a long time,” Irving said.

In a nutshell, Irving’s comments can be viewed as a lukewarm endorsement at best that he intends to remain a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers for the long haul. Irving is averaging 21.6 points and 6.1 assists per game this season, but the Cavs are languishing with a 16-30 record. The kid cannot do it all on his own. The team needs talent.

However the team chooses to proceed, there is one thing that will help Irving develop a more positive outlook: Winning. That usually does the trick.