Kyrie Irving hopes to start for Cavs

Marc J. Spears
Yahoo Sports

With all due respect to Baron Davis(notes), Kyrie Irving(notes) wouldn’t mind taking over the Cleveland Cavaliers' starting point guard job in training camp.

The Cavs have the option of using their amnesty clause on Davis to waive him and remove the $28.7 million he’s owed the next two seasons from the team's salary for cap and tax purposes. If Davis stays, Irving said he’d welcome being mentored by the veteran. The Cavs could decide to start both in the backcourt with Irving, the No. 1 pick in the June NBA draft, at point guard.

“It would be a great opportunity, but a little hard to see Baron go just based on having a veteran point guard there to help you make your transition,” Irving told Yahoo! Sports. “That’s something that I’m going to lose. But having the keys to the franchise is something that I’m excited about if it does happen. Either way, it will be a great opportunity with Baron or without Baron.”

When asked specifically if he’d rather take the point guard job now or learn under a veteran, Irving said: “I’d rather try to have the ability to go. I’ve been waiting for so long that I just want to jump right in, learn on the fly and just see how it goes.”

Irving's now glad he decided to declare for the 2011 draft after just one season at Duke. When it looked like the NBA's lockout could cause the entire season to be canceled, he second-guessed his decision, especially when he was taking classes at Duke during the summer. He tweeted his frustration after watching Duke beat Michigan State on Nov. 15 to give Mike Krzyzewski the NCAA men's Division I record for coaching victories.

“There were definitely a couple points, but I never really regretted my decision," Irving said. "I knew things would get better. It’s just about being patient. Honestly, any kid that left school early and loved it as much as I did and you see your teammates all the time and the coaching staff and they’re doing well, it’s going to bring up a whole ball of emotions like it did for me.

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“There were bad times. But me being able to be the No. 1 pick, reach my dream and take care of my family is something I can live with for the rest of my life.”

Irving awoken by two of his friends early on the morning of Nov. 26 to tell him the NBA had reached a new labor agreement.

“It took a lot of weight off my shoulders," he said. "Now I really don’t have to play the waiting game anymore or kind of explore other options to compensate for me not being able to achieve my dream. Being able to have this deal done is a sense of relief, a big sense of relief.”

Had the lockout continued, Irving was going to check out his overseas options. Now he plans on finding a place to live in Cleveland. He says he’s in “pretty good shape” from working out over the summer and claims he's completely healed from a toe injury that limited him to 11 games last season.

The Cavs also won't be facing many expectations this season after winning just 19 games last season.

“It will be a great opportunity to learn on the fly and get as much experience as possible in the first year,” Irving said. “It is a rebuilding team, so there are going to be some good times and some tough times. Everything is not going to happen overnight and that’s the attitude I have to go in with."

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