Cleveland Cavaliers guards Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters are in the middle of another controversy, and this time it involves Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon. Here's the latest, following Monday's practice:
Dion Waiters on Kyrie Irving: "I don't hate this guy. I'm pretty sure he don't hate me. I know he don't hate me. I hope he don't hate me."— Tom Withers (@twithersAP) April 7, 2014
Irving spoke to Josh Gordon to clear up mess. "I have the utmost respect for him. ... what goes on with us, we want to keep it within us."— Tom Withers (@twithersAP) April 7, 2014
Got it. Waiters knows/hopes Irving doesn't hate him, and Irving respects Gordon but wants him to butt out of Cavaliers business.
Hold up, how in the world did we get here? Let's rewind a bit.
Gordon, who is Waiters' neighbor, went on ESPN's "First Take" last week and said he spoke to Waiters about the Cavs locker room and was aware of a rift between the two. Irving fired back, via the Akron Beacon Journal's Jason Lloyd:
"Guys like Josh Gordon need to stay in his sport and mind his own business," Irving said prior to shootaround Friday morning. "Does he still play for the Browns? I'll continue to root for the Browns, but in terms of this stuff here, what goes on in this locker room, he needs to stay out of it."
Cool! That should be the end of it, right? Nope.
After ESPN's Brian Windhorst told Cavs The Blog's Robert Attenweiler that Irving's camp wants out of Cleveland, Irving took to the Twitter machine:
Sick to my stomach with all these rumors and accusations. Can I play without media guessing at my life and putting B.S out for headlines.— Kyrie Irving (@KyrieIrving) April 5, 2014
It brings nothing but negativity to the team and portraying me as something I'm not. I don't want or need the attention, so it can stop now.— Kyrie Irving (@KyrieIrving) April 5, 2014
At least be man or woman enough to come and ask me. There's no such source as "Kyrie's camp", nothing but nonsense.— Kyrie Irving (@KyrieIrving) April 5, 2014
Irving and the Cavs hosted the Charlotte Bobcats on Sunday, and according to the Associated Press' Tom Withers, the All-Star "spent the weekend in a vortex of controversy" and before the game expressed his dissatisfaction with what has been reported:
"The barrage and little bit of attack that I saw, I've been getting it all season and I feel I definitely don't deserve it," Irving said. It's one of those things where I can deal with it, but at a certain point, it's gotten too much. It's been like that the whole entire season."
"It's all nonsense to me," he said. "That's part of the business. I get it. It's part of the job. To go out and frame my character to something it's not. ... I'm not an attention seeker. I don't go out trying to put all these rumors out. For people that feel that it's a good thing to continue to put my name in the headlines to get reads, that's your job, but at a certain point it's got to stop."
Fear the Sword
All of this is pretty insane, and it's illustrative of what a whirlwind this season has been in Cleveland. The Cavs, from ownership and down to the locker room, were all-in on a playoff run that never came together. General manager Chris Grant is now ex-general manager Chris Grant, and it's almost certain that they'll finish 10th in the Eastern Conference, in that awful, just-good-enough-to-not-draft-an-impact-player position they wanted to avoid.
It's hard to know just how bad things are or were between Irving and Waiters, but there's been constant negativity surrounding them and the team all season. Until Irving signs an extension in Cleveland, people are going to both report on and speculate about his future.