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NEW YORK -- Cavaliers All-Star Kyrie Irving downplayed any notion he wants out of Cleveland and says he plans to be with the team for "a long time."
|Kyrie Irving downplayed any notion he wants out of Cleveland and said Thursday night he plans to be with the Cavaliers for "a long time."|
"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 Cavs' 117-86 loss to the New York Knicks, the second time in the last year Irving has found himself publicly attempting to quell rumors he was frustrated with the Cavs.
Earlier Thursday, ESPN.com's Chad Ford, answering a question in an online chat, wrote Irving has been telling people privately he wants out.
"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.
Earlier this season, Irving got into a verbal altercation with teammates during a team meeting following a lopsided loss. He and backcourt teammate Dion Waiters have not produced together as the Cavs had hoped when they drafted them in back-to-back drafts in 2011 and '12.
Irving, who was voted in as a starter to next month's All-Star Game, is averaging 21.5 points and 6.2 assists for the 16-30 Cavs. He has another season left on his contract and then would be a restricted free agent if he does not sign an extension with the Cavs before the start of next season.
Irving, who had 24 points in the loss, said he hasn't decided on signing the extension. The Cavs can't officially offer him a new deal until July 1.
"I'm not saying anything to tell the future, but I'm pretty sure the relationship I have with (owner) Dan Gilbert and management extends off the court. I enjoy being here," Irving said. "I'm still trying to get through this season. Everybody is trying to antagonize this team and put it on me to 'privately he wants out.' I'm here for my teammates, I'm here for Coach (Mike) Brown and the coaching staff and I'm going to play my heart out every single night for the Cleveland Cavaliers."