Kyrie Irving shot down rumors that he wasn't excited about being a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers, and apparently has his interest piqued by Mike Brown's plans to play him more off the ball going forward.
Between the sudden firing of Byron Scott, which had Irving quite displeased at the time, and the general fact that Cleveland finished last in their division two years running, there was some talk that Irving wasn't quite thrilled with his current location -- and the Cavs have reason to be nervous after the last guy they drafted first overall took his leave from Cleveland. But the 21-year-old was quick to refute the chatter when talking to Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal, saying he was unfamiliar with the person who started rumors of his desire to leave.
The interesting basketball portion of Lloyd's article featured Brown's plan for Irving to play sporadically at the two-guard spot while Jarrett Jack, who signed a four-year, $25 million deal with the Cavs, handles point guard duties. The big bucks spent on a veteran guard like Jack seemed out of place, considering Irving is the future of the franchise and the team just drafted Dion Waiters with the No. 4 pick in the 2012 draft, giving them a pair of talented young guards who need playing time to develop.
But it fits with Brown's scheme for Irving: already a polished scoring point guard after averaging 22.5 points and 5.9 assists, the new Cavs coach wants to see what Irving can do without the ball, coming off screens, allowing the 6'3 guard with tons of scoring talent to get lanes to the basket without doing all the work for himself. Irving certainly seems dynamic enough to wreak havoc if utilized properly away from the ball, but hasn't had the opportunity to do it much.
The 2012 Rookie of the Year made the All-Star Game in just his second season in the league last year, and now will be joined by the 2013 No. 1 pick, Anthony Bennett, as well as Andrew Bynum, who could be a game changer for the Cavs if his knees allow him to play. Irving is currently at the minicamp in Las Vegas for players hoping to participate on the USA's 2014 World Cup of Basketball team, as well as potential Olympic squads down the road. He'll be trying out for his college coach, Mike Krzyzewski, who is hoping to win his third Olympic gold medal in 2016.