Jan 30, 2014, 4:40 PM EDT
The Cleveland Cavaliers went 21-45 Kyrie Irving’s rookie year, 24-58 his second year and are 16-29 in his third year.
It’s 27 degrees in Cleveland right now, the warmest it’s been there in days.
Why wouldn’t Irving want out?
Apparently, he’s struggling to find reasons, too.
Kyrie Irving has been telling people privately he wants out. Cleveland can’t afford to lose him and LeBron. They know the urgency. I expect them to be major players at the deadline.
If Irving needs a reminder why he should stay in Cleveland, here it is: money. Lots and lots of money.
Irving is in just his third season.
LeBron spent seven seasons with the Cavaliers before bolting for Miami. Ditto Chris Bosh with the Raptors. Carmelo Anthony was with the Nuggets seven-and-a-half seasons before forcing a trade to New York. Dwight Howard didn’t force his way out of Orlando until he already spent eight years with the Magic.
The NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement is designed to keep elite first-round picks with their original team at least six-to-eight years. A player choosing to leave sooner – and he won’t even get full control of the decision until after his fifth year at the soonest – comes at a significant cost.
Irving is under contract for $7,070,730 next season. Not much he can do about that besides pout.
The following summer, he’ll be a restricted free agent.
He can accept a one-year, $9,191,949 qualifying offer and become an unrestricted free agent in 2016 – the very soonest he can reach that status. Or, in 2015, Irving can sign a five-year contract worth more than $80 million (even more if he starts next season’s All-Star game or makes at least the All-NBA third team this season and next) with the Cavaliers. He could also accept a little less from another team on a four-year deal. However, the Cavaliers would have the option to match that contract, and they surely would.
So, $9,191,949 or more than $80 million? What do you think Irving will choose?
He might want to leave the Cavaliers, but the odds of it happening anytime soon are low.