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Should the Cavaliers retire Kyrie Irving’s jersey someday? Kevin Love says ‘without a doubt’

Milwaukee Bucks v Brooklyn Nets

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - DECEMBER 23: Kyrie Irving #11 of the Brooklyn Nets reacts during the third quarter of the game against the Milwaukee Bucks at Barclays Center on December 23, 2022 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images)

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Kyrie Irving played six seasons in Cleveland, averaging 21.6 points and 5.5 rebounds a game in that time, being named to four All-Star teams, one All-NBA team and winning Rookie of the Year. Oh, and he knocked down the biggest shot in franchise history to win the Cavaliers their only title.

It would seem a no-brainer for the Cavs to retire his number — without him no banner hangs in Cleveland. However, things are never that simple with Irving. He forced his way off the Cavaliers while that team still could have contended for a title with LeBron James, something that fans remember — he still gets booed when he returns to Cleveland, as he did yesterday. There was frustration in the front office with him as well, and he was only there six years (the first three years were a struggle), plus there has been a litany of issues since.

Irving was back in Cleveland Monday night and the question was asked by Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer: Should Iring’s number be retired by the Cavaliers?

“Without a doubt. Absolutely. Right away, after his career ends,” Love told cleveland.com... “It’s not even a question to me. He needs to be up there. He made the biggest shot in franchise history and one of the most important shots in Finals history when you consider how it all went down -- what it meant for the city, what it meant for his legacy, LeBron’s legacy and everything else, including that Golden State team that became a dynasty and was historically great.”

Will the hard feelings toward Irving and his exit fade over time? Maybe. Probably. But you get the feeling that LeBron’s jersey will go up to the rafters first (he does turn 38 this week and, theoretically, is closer to retirement), then maybe Love. Irving will be a ways off.

But it’s got to happen, doesn’t it? The second-best player on the lone championship team? Irving deserves his number retired at the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse. But we don’t need to get into the details for a few years.

Monday night Irving and the Nets extended their winning streak to nine with a win over the Cavaliers, behind 32-points each from Kevin Durant and Irving.