Cleveland Cavaliers Need to Cut Ties with Kyrie Irving

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Kyrie Irving

David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Ever since LeBron James made his “Decision” to spurn Cleveland for the sunny pastures of Miami, the Cavaliers have been in disarray.

Cleveland is a woeful 88-206 and have failed to make the playoffs in the three-plus years since James left town. Quite simply, they haven’t been able to recover and haven’t found James’ successor.

When the Cavaliers selected Kyrie Irving with the first overall pick in the 2011 draft, the Duke star was supposed to fill the massive void left by James.

And Irving seemed very promising from the start. He was the Rookie of the Year in 2012, has reached back-to-back All-Star Games, and quickly became the Cavaliers’ go-to guy.

Despite the aforementioned accolades that have catapulted him into superstardom and the role of the undeniable leader of the Cavs, Irving has taken a step backwards this season and doesn’t appear ready or willing for what’s come his way.

With the current state of the franchise, it’s time the Cavaliers face facts and cut ties with Kyrie Irving. The organization has already dealt with seemingly insurmountable setbacks from James’ departure, meaning they should learn from their mistakes and refuse to invest their entire future on Irving.

There have been reports that Irving already wants out of Cleveland when he becomes a free agent and that has dominated a lot of the conversation about the third-year guard this season.

In addition, Irving’s game has slightly regressed this year. While his numbers of 21.5 points, 6.3 assists, and 3.5 rebounds per game are impressive on paper, he has failed to improve on the developmental curve so many assumed he’d follow.

Most of Irving’s numbers have dipped from last season and he is suffering career-lows in crucial categories. In addition to shooting a career-worst 43 percent from the floor and 36 percent from beyond the arc, Irving has posted his worse Player Efficiency Rating (20.21) and true shooting percentage (53.2) of his young career.

Irving hasn’t looked like the top-10 point guard he firmly established himself as last year.

Even more troublesome is his serious lack of leadership this season while the Cavaliers have struggled through an up-and-down season. Cleveland is currently 24-40 and 4.5 games back from the East’s 8th and final playoff spot, which is pretty telling considering the nature of the conference right now.

Sure, the supporting cast around Kyrie isn’t spectacular and the team’s record can’t be solely blamed on him, but the former Duke product’s attitude and behavior have been noticeably poor throughout this season.

He has failed to be a true leader on a team full of young and hungry talent, and hasn’t shown the ability to inspire his team or lift them from the dumps.

Irving’s disgruntled attitude and complete lack of leadership, coupled with a setback in his overall game should really make Cleveland question if they want to make him the franchise’s cornerstone.

This may just be a one-year slump and Irving could return to elite point guard status, but Cleveland should be weary of the situation.

After all, he is only 21-years-old and still maturing, but you’d like to see the guy take some responsibility for the shortcomings of the team, especially with all the expectations put on him.

If Irving continues with his current trend of inefficiency and lack of enthusiasm for the team, the Cavaliers need to make the hard decision to part ways with the young star.

It might be tough to admit, but Kyrie Irving just may not be the Cavaliers’ savior.

And let’s be honest, the franchise can’t endure another LeBron-esque debacle. If Irving continues down this path, the Cavaliers should avoid disaster and move on before it’s too late.

Allen Levin works for the Miami Dolphins in Media Relations and has covered the NBA for 5 years, including the Orlando Magic beat with KnightNews.com. He has been published in Fox Sports, CBS Sports the Orlando Sentinel and Sun Sentinel. Follow Allen on Twitter @TheNBAllen