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Kyrie Irving’s contract extension lets him opt out early

Jul 12, 2014, 4:30 PM EDT

Kyrie Irving Kyrie Irving

We don’t yet know what type of contract LeBron James will sign with the Cavaliers.

Will it be a two-year deal with a player option, a three-year deal with a player option or a four-year deal with a player option?

Those are the possibilities. Barring an unlikely extension, LeBron will hit free agency again by 2018.

Kyrie Irving can follow not long after – and a year earlier than expected.

Before LeBron announced his plan to sign in Cleveland, Irving agreed to a five-year contract extension with the Cavaliers that begins after the upcoming season. However, Irving could terminate that contract after just four years of the extension.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

The terms of Cleveland star point guard Kyrie Irving’s five-year, $90 million contract will include an early termination option for the 2019-20 season and a 15 percent trade kicker, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Irving’s deal includes the “Derrick Rose” provision, which allows Irving to gather 30 percent of the Cavaliers’ salary-cap space instead of 25 percent

Jeffrey Wechsler, Irving’s agent, really took the Cavaliers to the cleaners.

The designated-player and Derrick Rose rules allow teams to offer a  longer and larger rookie-contract extension. By design, those mechanisms are in place so a team rewards a player it wants to keep for five years rather than the standard four. That way, both the team (a young star under it’s control for longer) and player (more money) get something out of the arrangement.

Irving took his bounty and left the Cavaliers none of their extra security.

Essentially, Irving could escape Cleveland after four years of the extension, which starts in 2015-16. Thankfully for the Cavs, they signed LeBron, surely diminishing Irving’s desire to leave.

Blake Griffin and Paul George are the only other designated player to receive the ability to opt out after their fourth season of the extension. To get his player option, George had to drop his Rose-rule-raised salary from 30 percent to 27 percent. Griffin, though, got his full 30 percent along with an early termination option.

As can Irving.

We won’t know the value of Irving’s extension until the 2015-16 salary cap is set next July, but if the cap rises by the same amount it did this year, the baseline would be $90,686,380.

Irving would trigger the Derrick Rose rule – raising his contract to$108,823,656 based on the the same projected cap – only by winning MVP or being voted an All-Star starter this season. Considering he was already voted a starter last year and now the NBA’s most popular player is bringing more attention to his team, Irving should have no problem getting voted a starter again. Plus, I bet plenty of Heat fans wouldn’t mind voting for Irving if it makes Dan Gilbert write a larger paycheck.

Of course, 2020, when Irving can become a free agent, is a long way off. So much can change between now and then.

But that’s when Irving will get his first chance at the unrestricted ability to change NBA teams.

Luckily for the Cavaliers, they’ll have LeBron to coax Irving back to Cleveland. Probably.

  1. eugenesaxe1 - Jul 12, 2014 at 4:43 PM

    “Plus, I bet plenty of Heat fans wouldn’t mind voting for Irving if it makes Dan Gilbert write a larger paycheck.”

    Nah, I doubt they’re that petty. Bit of a stretch just to knock Gilbert. Also kind of dumb, considering he pulled an almost-impossible rabbit out of his Bighead.

  2. sportsfan18 - Jul 12, 2014 at 4:46 PM

    Gotta get that if you can as a player as one never knows the future…

    Auto accidents, injury etc…

    Cavs might be really different in 3 yrs due to those things.

    Also, if Kyrie were to really turn into a star, you opt out and with the higher salary cap coming in a few more yrs, he’d be able to resign for even more money.

    Being able to opt out early is a great thing for a very good player.

    • casualcommenter - Jul 12, 2014 at 5:13 PM

      Great deal for Kyrie. Everything a player could want – salary tied to the ever rising salary cap, with 30% earmarked to the player, and an early opt out that he far less likely to use with LeBron around.

      Some risk for Cleveland due to Kyrie’s injury history, but they had to keep him.

  3. antistratfordian - Jul 12, 2014 at 4:49 PM

    Please Stay Kyrie!!!

    • apkyletexas - Jul 12, 2014 at 5:07 PM

      You ready to camp outside Kyrie’s house, anti? Stalk the baker he buys cupcakes from?

      • antistratfordian - Jul 12, 2014 at 5:42 PM

        If that’s what it takes for him to stay on the LeBravaliers. Anything it takes for him to stay in CleBronland.

        Hey, I think I came up with their new name: The CleBronland LeBravaliers

      • ranfan12 - Jul 12, 2014 at 6:49 PM

        i would. cupcakes are serious business where i’m from

  4. capspats - Jul 12, 2014 at 4:54 PM

    It’s very weird seeing anti root for Kyrie overnight. My brain hurts when I try to process the thought

    • antistratfordian - Jul 12, 2014 at 6:31 PM

      Oh lighten up. That was the intent. It was supposed to be abrupt and strange and, hopefully, funny.

  5. balsagna - Jul 12, 2014 at 5:09 PM

    Yeah I’ll worry about this when the time comes. As a Cavs can I couldn’t care less at this point.

    • jeffkx - Jul 12, 2014 at 5:47 PM

      In four years Kyrie will be 26 and Wiggins will be 22/23..I don’t think Kyrie is going to flee Cleveland.

    • antistratfordian - Jul 12, 2014 at 5:57 PM

      Ask a Heat fan… 4 years goes by pretty fast.

      • balsagna - Jul 12, 2014 at 6:21 PM

        If he won 2 titles in 4 years with Lebron? You kidding me? I would be ecstatic.

      • antistratfordian - Jul 12, 2014 at 6:34 PM

        Ask a Heat fan… losing him would still suck.

      • balsagna - Jul 12, 2014 at 6:37 PM

        Why would I need to ask a Heat fan? He’s left the Cavs before.

      • antistratfordian - Jul 12, 2014 at 6:50 PM

        Not after, “Dos! Anillos!”

  6. mungman69 - Jul 12, 2014 at 5:09 PM

    That’s a lotta money.

  7. remyje - Jul 12, 2014 at 5:31 PM

    really surprised there wasn’t a graph and pie chart to go along with this article

  8. jfield1974 - Jul 12, 2014 at 5:32 PM

    So…who had 24 hrs in the pool for how long it would take a media outlet to troll 4 years out?

    Bravo…the 24 hr news cycle is an amazing tool.

  9. realfootballfan - Jul 12, 2014 at 5:37 PM

    This is a non-story as any star worth anything has an early optout. However, the bigger question will be how he adapts to James coming back to his kingdom so to speak. James isn’t the type to get in players’ faces to tell them what he wants like a Jordan or Kobee but rather leads by example and if the teammates don’t follow, he just goes about his business instead of calling them out. There’s that report out there that Bosch staying in Miami made his decision to go back to Cleveland now easier, which is kind of what we’re talking about. How Irving responds to that, whether he raises his game to keep up or just feels like he can do his own thing, will be interesting to watch.

  10. mungman69 - Jul 12, 2014 at 5:48 PM

    Pau to the Bulls, now they are #1 in the East.

    • antistratfordian - Jul 12, 2014 at 5:53 PM

      Ha. Let’s see if Vegas shifts. I doubt it. It’s only Pau Gasol. Melo is in NY.

  11. davidly - Jul 12, 2014 at 6:40 PM

    Coming this Christmas, straight up, not so much love for Kyrie, Irving for Love.

  12. AZ Dem - Jul 12, 2014 at 7:28 PM

    This is a dumb contract. It leaves the Cavs absolutely no room to maneuver. Between Kyrie and LeBron, that’s more than half your cap space.

    Kyrie is a shoot-first point guard. LeBron’s going to want his looks. And Wiggens is going to want to put up numbers because he’s going to want a big contract in 3 years when his rookie contract is up.

    This is buying the Cavs a lot of positive media attention. But I doubt it’s going to translate on the court.

    • campcouch - Jul 12, 2014 at 11:19 PM

      Irving was shoot first because he had no one else to score. Dion Waiters is not starter material (72/131), and for some reason the Cavs thought they were drafting the next James Harden. So that was Irving’s problem. With James, whatever shooter they sign, a much better athlete with Wiggins or some possible trade for Love,he will have plenty of chances to get assists.

  13. jfield1974 - Jul 12, 2014 at 8:46 PM

    Both contracts give the players the chance at more money in two years when the TV contracts are up and there will be a huge transfusion of additional money. Factor that into the increased cap-space and the deal makes sense for the players and is a placement of faith on the side of management knowing the future finances.

    The letter written for the World to see has cast in stone LeBron’s future in Cleveland, as long as he is healthy players will want to play with him. Next made up story line in 3…2…1

  14. campcouch - Jul 12, 2014 at 9:07 PM

    And it begins already. Contract just signed and the talk of the future free agent bubbles up. I guess he’s going to LA or NY right?

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