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Kyrie Irving would be ‘excited’ if Cavaliers offer max contract extension

Apr 17, 2014, 9:40 AM EDT

Kyrie Irving Kyrie Irving

Kyrie Irving reportedly told people he wants to leave Cleveland. Heck, another report alleges he’s been saying so for years.

Irving has maintained he enjoys playing for the Cavaliers, and soon, he’ll have a chance to prove it.

Between July 10 and Oct. 31, Irving can sign a contract extension for up to five years. Considering he’s by far the best thing the Cavaliers have going for them, I’d be shocked if they don’t offer a max contract.

What would Irving think of that?

Irving, via Bob Finnan of The News-Herald & The Morning Journal:

“Obviously, I’m aware I can be extended this summer,” he said after the Cavs’ 114-85 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on April 16 before 19,842 at Quicken Loans Arena.

“It’s a big deal for me if they do offer me that. It will be exciting. I’ll make the best decision for me and my family. That’s what it will boil down to.”

Irving doesn’t sound like someone who wants out.

“I’ve been part of this, and I want to continue to be part of this,” he said. “We’ve made some strides in the right direction, especially as an organization. I want to be part of something special. I don’t have a definitive answer to that right now.”

Being excited is one thing. Wanting to be part of ‘’this” is one thing.

Actually signing the extension is another.

Irving is locked into a 2014-15 salary of $7,070,730. What he does after that – if the Cavaliers are willing to pay top dollar to lock him up long-term, which I think is quite likely – is in his hands.

Using a roughly estimated 2015-16 salary-cap projection of $ 67,121,000, here are the possible maximum paths for Irving’s next contract:

  • Black: He signs the one-year qualifying offer, becoming an unrestricted free agent in 2016. This is the nuclear option.
  • Wine: He signs a standard rookie-scale contract extension, which can be up to five years if the Cavaliers name him their designated player.
  • Gold: He becomes the Cavaliers designated player and signs for a higher max salary – the 5th Year 30% Max – he’d have to earn next season. Irving would qualify only by being voted an All-Star starter or winning MVP next season. If he doesn’t, his salary would revert to the wine path. However, if Irving signs for the higher max salary, the deal must be for at least four years.


If Irving wants to leave Cleveland before 2020, it will cost him salary. The question would become how much Irving wants to sacrifice for greater flexibility.

He’ll have to make that assessment this summer, and then, we’ll learned just how “excited” he’d be by an extension offer from the Cavaliers.

  1. lilyen311 - Apr 17, 2014 at 10:03 AM

    Thanks so much for placing the word excited in quotation marks. Another hateful “dis” to Cleveland. Again. Still.

  2. pfic15 - Apr 17, 2014 at 10:18 AM

    Max deal for a guy who can’t finish a season? No thanks.

    • moseskkim - Apr 17, 2014 at 2:53 PM

      max deal, unfortunately, is not only for the cream of the crop. i think the biggest reason is.. cream of the crop players are worth way more than the max and the max is around what players like irving, wall etc deserve. lebron shouldnt get less than anyone but he gets 10s of millions less. doesnt make sense.. but doesnt also mean potential franchise players like irving shouldnt get a max deal despite the injury risk

  3. tomasekradek - Apr 17, 2014 at 10:18 AM

    I would be excited too. Who wouldn’t be?
    For 90m $ I wolud be excited to play in Antarctica with imperial penguins

    • eugenesaxe1 - Apr 17, 2014 at 9:03 PM

      Against polar bears with laser-beam eyes.

      • paleihe - Apr 18, 2014 at 2:18 AM

        I actually laughed out loud.

        Thanks to both of you.

  4. aboogy123456 - Apr 17, 2014 at 10:20 AM

    One thing that I need to understand better is how much salary a player is actually giving up by leaving his team and taking the max somewhere else. I thought that when a player signs with a new team, they can opt out in either 2 or 3 years and re-sign a max extension. So if that’s the case, aren’t they only giving up the raises they get in the first 2 or 3 years? If so, the $30 million salary difference is actually a lot less. Can someone explain to me how that works?

    • Kevin S. - Apr 17, 2014 at 1:54 PM

      To have full Bird Rights with their new team, they’d have to be there at least three years – that means a three-year contract with a fourth-year player option. They would have given up 3% of their first-year salary in years two and three, since their contracts would be limited to 4.5% raises instead of 7.5% raises. For a player whose maximum salary in that first year is $20 million, he’s given up $1.2 million over those two years. However, he loses the security of being able to sign a five-year deal, and if he made more in his last season than the league-wide maximum for a player of his service time, the amount he can sign his next contract for is lower because it’s based on 105% of what he made the previous year.

      In Kyrie’s case, however, what he’s leaving on the table is not money but security. He can sign a contract worth somewhere in the vicinity of $90 million over five years this summer, depending on what the salary cap comes in at for 2015. That contract would extend from 2015 through 2020. His other options are to play out next season guaranteed nothing but his $7.07 million salary. Should he make it through the season without catastrophic injury, he can A) sign the same extension he left on the table this summer, B) sign an offer sheet with another team for less than the extension on the table this summer (which Cleveland will surely match anyway), or C) sign a $9.2 million qualifying offer, play another season under risk of decline or catastrophic injury, and sign in the summer of 2016 for the same amount of money in Cleveland or less money with another team. Kyrie will have made roughly $23 million from the Cavs over his first four years, plus whatever he got in endorsements, but how badly would one have to hate a situation to put off guaranteeing an extra $90 million for two years. It’s not like baseball where you can make a lot more money if you take a chance and make it to free agency. There’s literally no financial incentive whatsoever for Irving to turn down a max offer.

      • aboogy123456 - Apr 17, 2014 at 3:24 PM

        Thank you Kevin!

      • Kevin S. - Apr 17, 2014 at 8:48 PM

        No problem.

        All information salary cap related can pretty much be found here:

  5. 00maltliquor - Apr 17, 2014 at 11:05 AM

    File this under the “No _hit Sherlock” folder. I would be ‘excited’ too if my employer gave me a maximum raise.

  6. doctordunkenstein - Apr 17, 2014 at 11:17 AM

    he will take this extension…then the countdown to Kyrie’s “ESCAPE FROM CLEVELAND” is on…

  7. cantonbound13 - Apr 17, 2014 at 11:41 AM

  8. primenumber19 - Apr 17, 2014 at 12:38 PM

    Emperor penguins not imperial penguins

  9. clownsfan - Apr 17, 2014 at 12:46 PM

    I I I me me me ….etc. every other word out of this kids mouth is I or me. Can’t stay healthy, not a leader, doesn’t elevate the players around him and cares more about his “brand” than he does about winning. Yeah let’s give a max deal. Trade him. You don’t win with him so why not cash in?

  10. kb2408 - Apr 17, 2014 at 2:11 PM

    Translation: I will be excited when I see all those zeroes on that contract…but, Cleveland, don’t get too excited about me staying, I’m outta here. I’m young and can get crazy loot for the next 10 years elsewhere AND probably play in a major market!!

  11. campcouch - Apr 17, 2014 at 7:40 PM

    I wonder how many writers and commenters have actually been to Cleveland or the NE Ohio area. It’s a pretty nice place and actually has a culture. Aside from the Cavs recent struggles after losing the best player in the NBA to FA,the fans still attend games to near capacity. If Irving really thinks he’s a star player,then his desire to create a winner AND $90 million dollars should motivate him to stay. It’s easy for teams like the Lakers and Knicks, who refuse to build through the draft,to believe that every player wants to play and live there. Obviously not. Both teams have struck out on the free agency market as of late…and remember,Carmelo Anthony was a trade. Both of those franchises made terrible gambles that have cost them. Remember the Knicks gutted their team trying to land James and then removed their brains to get Anthony. So they’re saddled with STAT,Tyson Chandler,JR Smith and Bargnani’s contracts with no draft picks. The Lakers maneuvered to get Paul and Howard and well…now they have Kobe,Nash and Robert Sacre under contract. One guy is coming off of two major leg injuries and the other has degenerative nerve damage that limits him to halves of games if he even dresses. I’ll take the Cavs situation over those teams anyday. Good luck trying to get Love,James,Bosh or Wade in 2015 LA and NY!

  12. eugenesaxe1 - Apr 17, 2014 at 9:06 PM

    There is also the “green” path: Sign max deal and demand a trade. Essentially pull an LBJ/Bosh.

    • Kevin S. - Apr 18, 2014 at 6:47 AM

      That is not at all what LeBron and Bosh did. LeBron and Bosh signed 3+1 rookie extensions, played them out, and left in free agency. The sign-and-trades were agreed to after they had committed to Miami. Kyrie will have no leverage to demand a trade once he is signed, not until he’s getting close to the end of his extension.

      • eugenesaxe1 - Apr 18, 2014 at 1:36 PM

        No need to split hairs. LBJ/Bosh were leaving, and were kind enough to help their own teams out. And Irving will have plenty of leverage, all he has to do is pitch a bitch and become a negative for the organization. That may be classless, but it works.

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