Skip to content

Brian Windhorst: Kyrie Irving doesn’t want to be in Cleveland, that should impact contract extension talks

Apr 4, 2014, 6:52 PM EDT

Cleveland Cavaliers v Phoenix Suns Getty Images

The NBA’s elite young players always take the first extension to your rookie contract.

Cleveland will offer one this summer and Kyrie Irving will sign it. He’s making $5.6 million this year, the first year of his extension will be north of $14 million (we don’t know the exact figures, it would be 25 percent of the salary cap that year). You sign that deal because it is “set your family up for generations” money. Everyone signs it — LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard and maybe next Kevin Love forced their way out of situations, but they signed that extension and played a few more years under it first.

However, don’t mistake that with Kyrie Irving being happy in Cleveland — which means he may ask for an opt-out after three seasons (as LeBron did in Cleveland, just to point out the scar).

Brian Windhorst of ESPN — who covered LeBron and the Cavaliers for the Plain Dealer and still is well connected there — was bunt about the Irving situation in a conversation with Robert Attenweiler of Cavs the Blog (you should go read the entire post):

The truth is [Kyrie’s] camp has been putting out there for years – years – that he doesn’t want to be in Cleveland. That they don’t want him in Cleveland. He doesn’t like Mike Brown. He didn’t like Chris Grant. He doesn’t like Dion Waiters. He’s already gotten a General Manager fired. He might get Mike Brown fired. This is the last time – once he signs he loses all of his leverage – so this is the last time he gets to enact leverage. I know he’s said all the right things so, fine, on July 1, when they offer a max contract – which they will – and I don’t even know if he’s a max player, but you have to sign him – sign a five year, no out. That’s what a max contract is. A max contract is five years, no out. If you want out or you want three years, that’s not a max contract. You want three years? Okay, we’ll give you $12 million a year. We’re not giving you the full thing….

I think this is very elementary from Dan Gilbert’s perspective. If Kyrie wants to play for Team USA, he’s going to have to do his deal before mid-July when he goes to play for it and he’ll either take the five years or he won’t. If the answer is “no” to five years, he goes on the trade block. Period. I think it’s pretty simple.

About that LeBron James pipe dream that some in Cleveland cling to…

And the other thing is: if the Cavs ever dream of having LeBron, it’s not going to be with Kyrie there. LeBron and Kyrie have drifted apart in the last few years, even to the point that if the Cavs wanted to get LeBron they would maybe trade Kyrie for someone who would fit better with LeBron. And I’m not making that up. That line of thinking was not originated by me. That’s just the truth.

LeBron is not coming back to Cleveland this summer. Whatever happens in Miami he’s not going anywhere. Maybe LeBron comes back to Cleveland to finish out his career, maybe, but that doesn’t happen now.

Windhorst is up front in this conversation, calling Irving an immature 21-year-old and Waiters an immature 22-year-old, two guys who could try to figure out how to play together but instead are in a silly competition with one another.

Cleveland needs a strong hand to steer the ship at this point, to set a direction for what kind of team they are trying to build and what kind of players they need to do it. A guy who can keep the owner at arms length from basketball decisions. A guy that can get Irving’s attention and guide him down the right path. A guy like what Phil Jackson wants to do for the Knicks.

I’m not sure that guy exists, but Windhorst is making public what a lot of people around the league have said about the Cavs for a while. They are not just bad on the court.

Latest Posts
  1. Report: ‘Sense of optimism’ Tristan Thompson will sign contract extension with Cavaliers

    Oct 30, 2014, 3:11 PM EDT

    Tristan Thompson, Mike Conley Tristan Thompson, Mike Conley

    Cleveland, as of a few days ago, reportedly hadn’t begun negotiations with Thompson

  2. LeBron makes emotional return to Cleveland tonight, new Nike ad shows city standing together (VIDEO)

    Oct 30, 2014, 1:55 PM EDT

    Miami Heat v Cleveland Cavaliers Miami Heat v Cleveland Cavaliers

    The season is about process for the Cavaliers, but tonight is about celebration of home.

  3. Pau Gasol: Marc Gasol signing with the Knicks is ‘possible’

    Oct 30, 2014, 12:45 PM EDT

    Carmelo Anthony Carmelo Anthony

    Bulls center has discussed Phil Jackson with his younger brother

  4. Dominant Pau Gasol shows he may be a perfect fit for Bulls

    Oct 30, 2014, 11:55 AM EDT

    Pau Gasol Pau Gasol

    Gasol was dominant opening night, and Derrick Rose is thrilled to finally have some help.

  5. Klay Thompson becomes eligible for higher qualifying offer

    Oct 30, 2014, 10:51 AM EDT

    Ben McLemore, Klay Thompson Ben McLemore, Klay Thompson

    Warriors shooting guard met starter criteria in game against Kings

  6. Rajon Rondo apparently took subway to Celtics’ opener

    Oct 30, 2014, 9:30 AM EDT

    Rajon Rondo Rajon Rondo

    Celtics point guard photographed in T station

  7. Andrew Wiggins first NBA bucket was quality catch-and-shoot three (VIDEO)

    Oct 30, 2014, 8:30 AM EDT

    Timberwolves New Players Getty Images

    Rough first night in the NBA to be guarded by Tony Allen.

  8. Wednesday night’s NBA winners, losers: Chris Bosh wants you to know he is a No. 1 option

    Oct 30, 2014, 2:45 AM EDT

    Washington Wizards v Miami Heat Getty Images

    Good night to be the Trail Blazers. Not so much for Kobe Bryant.

  9. Bulls cruise to 24-point opening night win over Knicks

    Oct 29, 2014, 11:57 PM EDT

    Chicago Bulls v New York Knicks Chicago Bulls v New York Knicks

    Taj Gibson and the second unit took control of this one.

  10. Isaiah Thomas said he had interest in signing with Lakers

    Oct 29, 2014, 11:13 PM EDT

    Phoenix Suns v Utah Jazz Getty Images

    While the Lakers were flirting with ‘Melo, the Suns came knocking for Thomas.

  11. Kemba Walker did it again! (video)

    Oct 29, 2014, 9:51 PM EDT

    Kemba Walker, Jabari Parker, Brandon Knight Kemba Walker, Jabari Parker, Brandon Knight

    Hornets point guard hits game-winning jumper in overtime against Bucks

Featured video

The list of championship contenders
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. B. Beal (8325)
  2. K. McDaniels (7789)
  3. R. Rondo (7463)
  4. K. Durant (7296)
  5. B. Lopez (6676)