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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Friday, March 24, 2023
Grey Satterfield

Column: The frustration of watching Kyrie Irving's demise in Cleveland

Kyrie Irving approached this All-Star weekend with hopes of defending his 3-point contest title.

However, that didn’t happen and he brought home a new piece of hardware, the All-Star game’s Most Valuable Player award.

Irving was heavily recruited out of high school, but an injury-shortened season at Duke didn’t make him the consensus No. 1 pick. The Cleveland Cavaliers nonetheless decided to take him first in the 2011 NBA draft.

The dynamic point guard is not only known for his on-court performance but also as the Internet sensation, Uncle Drew. His successful videos have promoted him to NBA fame despite the injuries that have stopped him from ascending into the upper echelon of NBA players.

What’s the other thing holding him back? The Cleveland Cavaliers.

Poor Cleveland, the black hole of professional sports where dreams and aspirations of sporting success are dumped into dirty waterfront of Lake Erie year after year.

Let’s be frank, the Cleveland Cavaliers do nothing to help their young stars grow. Look no further than LeBron James.

James is the best player in the league, and he single-handedly took the Cavaliers to the NBA Finals before losing to the San Antonio Spurs in 2007.

In James’ three seasons with the Miami Heat, he has represented the Eastern Conference in the finals every year, bringing home two rings in the process.

Basketball is a team sport, all five players contribute. Even when one of those players is a No. 1 overall pick like James or Irving, the rest of the team needs to be up to a championship standard too.

Look at the Chicago Bulls teams of the 1990s that won six titles. Michael Jordan was not the only player on those teams. He was surrounded by Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Steve Kerr and many other great players.

Last night was a great example of what Kyrie Irving is capable of if good basketball players surround him. Irving has the talent and skill to become one of the best scoring guards of all time. Sadly, he’ll never meet his potential in Cleveland.

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Irving’s contract with the Cavs runs through the 2015 season and it’s safe to say he will want to test the free agent market for a new team as well as a max contract: Irving is making a little less than $6 million a year on his rookie scale deal; a max contract in free agency could have him making as much as $20 million.

Earlier in January, Irving was asked if he was happy in Cleveland. The 21-year-old responded yes, but just about everyone knew how hollow his response was. The Cavs have a 32 percent win percentage since Irving joined the team. They also boast one of the lowest attendance rates in the league.

The All Star game was a taste of the good life for Irving. He’ll feel the burn even more after playing in the FIBA world championships this fall.

That experience and taste of success will no doubt have Irving clamoring to leave Cleveland. The 2008 Olympics had the same effect on LeBron James.

All NBA players, especially superstars, want to win more than anything else. The writing is on the wall: Kyrie Irving can’t win in Cleveland.

Will Kyrie Irving leave Cleveland when his contract is up? Let Grey know what you think by emailing

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