Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 1/24/12
MIAMI Dont call Kyrie Irving another LeBron James just because hes also a No. 1 pick of the Cleveland Cavaliers. But if you want to call him another Chris Paul, that might be OK. In fact, James said he sees plenty of similarities between the Cavaliers rookie point guard and Paul, the Los Angeles Clippers' star point. He reminds me of CP early in his days, as well," said James, the Miami Heat forward who will go against Irving on Tuesday night at AmericanAirlines Arena for the first time in his NBA career. They definitely remind me of each other. Just how in control, and how they think the game. They show that youre not in like a rookie mindset. Youre trying to put guys in a position to succeed. Ive been looking forward to going against him. . . . Hes definitely beyond his years as a rookie point guard." James wont be guarding Irving, but they will be the focal points for their teams. James leads the Heat with a 29.7 points and 7.3 assists per game. Irving tops the Cavaliers with 17.4 points and 4.9 assists. But when it comes to talk about Irving filling a void in Cleveland from after James departed in the summer of 2010, Irving and James both shy away from that. James was asked if he sees any pressure on Irving, who is friendly with James and also has Leon Rose as an agent, in that role after being taken No. 1 overall in Junes draft. He has no pressure," said James, who called facing his former team just another game" as the Heat prepare to play a fifth straight game without guard Dwyane Wade, who has a sprained right ankle. "I think theyre kind of like in a rebuilding stage right now as far as their team. I dont think he has any pressure." There might be some pressure on Irving of another kind later this year. Irving, who was born in Australia, must make a decision on whether he wants to play for the Australian Olympic team in London or hold out for a possible Team USA bid in the future. The catch is if Irving joins Australia this year, he might not ever be able to play for the US in an Olympics. James said he doesnt know enough about the situation to offer Irving any advice. But Irving, who played at Duke under Olympic coach Mike Krzyzewski, said he will seek out Krzyzewski for advice. Most likely, Ill talk to him in the next month or so," Irving said in an interview with FOX Sports Florida. Right now, its preliminary talks (with Australia). Im keeping my options open." Because Irving played for Team USA in the 2010 FIBA Americas Under-18 Championship, he would need to get a waiver from FIBA, basketballs international governing body, to be eligible for Australia. Its a bit complicated, if I do decide to do it," said Irving, who said he isnt leaning any particular way now. While Irving isnt under consideration for Team USA for the 2012 Olympics in London, he would be a strong candidate for the 2014 World Championships and 2016 Olympics. But USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said he doesnt plan to try to persuade Irving to stick with the US. Hes a terrific young prospect," Colangelo said by phone. He has to do whats in his best interests. He certainly would be in our mix going forward (if Irving waits for Team USA consideration). I would never try to sway him if he wanted to play (for Australia) and he thought it was in his best interests." Told what Colangelo said, Irving said hes going to remain patient in the process. Oh, absolutely, I want to be in the mix with any team," Irving said. But right now Im not going to limit myself to just one team." However, Cavaliers television broadcaster Austin Carr, a former star guard for the team, would like to see Irving limit himself to the US squad. Informed Irving likely wouldnt be able to eventually play in the Olympics for the US if he joins Australia this year, Carr believes it should be an easy decision. I think he should stay here," Carr said. If youre going to be an NBA player, you should play in the United States. Thats the way I see it." Carr, taken in the 1971 NBA draft, is one of three Cavaliers No. 1 overall picks prepared to be in the building for Tuesday nights game. The only one in their history not planning on a visit is Brad Daugherty, taken first in 1986. James went No. 1 in 2003 and was named Rookie of the Year. Irving is the favorite to hoist the same trophy next spring. Hes not a rookie," James said. Really, his rookie game is not a rookie type of game. Hes always in control. He plays at his own tempo and hes like a veteran out there, and its been great to see what hes been able to do in his first year. He doesnt carry himself, he doesnt play like a rookie plays." That sounds like it was when James averaged 20.9 points for a 2003-04 Cavaliers outfit that also was rebuilding. But dont go there with James. As for comparisons to Paul, those are OK. And Paul, it should be noted, also was Rookie of the Year, winning with New Orleans in 2005-06. Chris Tomasson can be reached at christomasson@hotmail.com or on Twitter @christomasson
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