Kyrie Irving Responds To Stephen A. Smith Saying He’s Unhappy On Cavs
Monday morning, Stephen A. Smith woke up knowing he was going to drop a scorching hot NBA rumor on "First Take." He does this whenever the show exhausts its normal supply of discussion topics, and the period between the Super Bowl and the start of baseball is one of the times when there isn't a whole lot to talk about. Just saying, there's probably a glass case of secrets at ESPN that they break open whenever they need a ratings bump.
According to Smith, Kyrie Irving hasn't been happy in Cleveland since LeBron James returned two summers ago.
“I BIT MY TONGUE ON THIS ON SEVERAL OCCASIONS. IT IS TIME I SAY SOMETHING. SKIP BAYLESS, THIS ISN’T JUST FOR WEEKS. THIS IS FOR MONTHS DATING BACK TO LAST YEAR, I HAVE BEEN TOLD THAT KYRIE IRVING AIN’T TOO HAPPY BEING IN CLEVELAND. HE IS THE BAD BOY. 28 YESTERDAY, 30 IN A LOSS TO DETROIT A FEW GAMES AGO. KYRIE IRVING IS GOING WORK HARD, DO WHAT HE HAS TO DO, GO ON THE COURT AND PERFORM OR WHATEVER, BUT THE SITUATION IS NOT IDEAL FOR HIM. I DON’T KNOW THE PARTICULARS. I HAVE NOT SPOKEN TO HIM PERSONALLY, BUT IT IS ABOUT THIS MATTER, BUT IT IS SOMETHING I HAVE BEEN HEARING FOR MONTHS, IN AN IDEAL — UNDER IDEAL CIRCUMSTANCES HE WOULD PREFER TO BE SOMEPLACE OTHER THAN CLEVELAND.”
When asked about Smith insinuation, Irving was measured and diplomatic, saying sensible things like, "they're going to pick one player and it's going to change every single week" to turn the tables and make this about the media fabricating stories. And while he may very well be right -- Stephen A. Smith frequently gets caught relaying inaccurate information -- he's not going to get a retraction any time soon.
Tuesday, S.A.S. doubled down on his report.
"over the course of the last year and a half or so, there have been times where he wished that he was playing a more quintessential, ideal, point guard position, that he'd have the ball in his hands more. That he'd be in a position to do the kind of things that he's capable of doing with more regularity. That he wouldn't have to capitulate and acquiesce to some of the things that lebron james and the cleveland cavaliers thought were best. these are things that he didn't have to worry about before lebron james arrived, and so when you look at it from that perspective, he's moving forward and he's tried to move forward. then you had the left kneecap injury. then there was some speculation that lebron was frustrated by the fact that he was always injured."
At no point did Smith articulate where he was getting his information -- or even that he knows where this information was coming from. He seems to be regurgitating a rumor that other NBA insiders were reluctant to touch because it has never been substantiated in any meaningful way. "It's been known for a long time that the Cleveland situation, since LeBron's return, was not considered ideal for Kyrie," he added, making it sound like he's not sure about anything he's saying.
"off the air i came and we had a meeting and i talked about how in atlanta when the cavs were playing atlanta in the postseason, you were hearing rumblings back then because you had players, you know, kyrie's dad, his agent and others were, like, 'you don't need to be endangering yourself.' and lebron and some of the other guys were, like, 'to hell with all of that, we trying to win a playoff series, and unless you play, the more of the responsibility it places on the shoulders of lebron james.' and so when you looked at it from that perspective, there was clearly a divide that existed between cavaliers, some cavaliers players, some members of management, and kyrie irving and his clique. whether that be his father, his agent or whomever else you want to throw into the fray. so it's been -- it's been known for a long time that the cleveland situation, since lebron's return, was not considered ideal for kyrie."
"now how ever he chooses to explain that, he chooses to explain it. when i see him, he's always very nice, very respectful to me. i openly stated yesterday, i had not talked to him about this particular situation and what have you. but i appreciate the manner in which he handled it...this is not an ideal situation for kyrie irving. and several members of his inner circle, along with himself, would find others situations more a deal than the one that he's enduring in cleveland at this moment in time. i don't backtrack away from what i said one bit. as a matter of fact, it should have been reported months ago by others. i don't know why that was not the case."
Um, maybe because no one else reports stuff they've read on walls of Quicken Loans Arena bathroom stalls.
You can watch the full clip, below...
- On his SiriusXM radio program, Smith responded to Kyrie's response to his reporting in yet another episode of "Stephen A.'s Overreaction-piece Theater." You might want to turn down the volume on your headphones, because he yells a lot.
Be the first to know
Want FREE Fantasy and Gaming Advice and Savings Delivered to your Inbox? Sign up for our Newsletter.