In the midst of a two-game losing streak and a hellacious March knocking on Cleveland’s door, ESPN.com’s Brian Windhorst comes strong with a piece laying out the potential for the Cavaliers to trade All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving if a contract is not signed this summer.
If Kyrie Irving truly wants to be on a different team next season he can probably make it happen.
The Cleveland Cavaliers will offer Irving a maximum contract extension once they’re allowed to on July 1, and if he hasn’t signed it by October, the team will likely be forced to trade him before the Oct. 31 deadline for third-year players to extend their contracts.
The Cavs aren’t without leverage. They can match any deal offered if Irving hits restricted free agency in the summer of 2015, and they control his rights through summer 2016. Waiting out that period would cost Irving millions, not to mention open himself up to losing it all should some unforeseen major injury occur. For these reasons, no player in Irving’s position has ever declined to a sign a maximum contract offer. […]
And while Irving has said all the right things about staying put in public, it’s no secret that Irving’s camp has been making it known for years now the point guard would like to be elsewhere long term. No matter how much he denies it.
Windhorst naturally lays out all of the reasons why Irving should, with history being any indication, re-sign with the Cavaliers, including the public relations hit he would take. As the star of Pepsi MAX’s “Uncle Drew” series, damaged popularity could put a serious clamp on the spigot of endoresments. The Cavaliers, as has been reported countless times, have the ability to match any deals Irving would receive, controlling his rights through 2016. Irving can certainly make the Cavs front office sweat a bit, allowing him to sign a mini-max extension similar to LeBron James in 2006—and we all know how this worked out long term.
“In his three seasons,” Windhorst writes, “the 21-year-old has spent a total of five days above .500, none of them coming after the second week of the season.” Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert is on record saying that he would not allow his team to be held hostage by a player who was entering free agency. That said, Gilbert has also said a lot of things on record, some of which have eventually proved untrue.
Fellow ESPN writer Amin Elhassan provides a bit of supporting work for Windhorst, laying out the options for Irving, complete with several quotes from league general managers and fellow players12. Like last summer, this coming summer is the “most important” of the point guard’s young career.
These sort of things never seem to creep up during six-game winning streaks, do they?
(Image via Scott Sargent/WFNY)
- “He’s never been the villain, been loved everywhere he’s gone,” the player said. “Could he come out and play with that sort of animosity from his home crowd, let alone the rest of the league?” [↩]
- “Kyrie is in a rarefied air. He’s not on the same plane as a regular player who is forced to accept the work environment of the team that offers him the highest bid,” said one Western Conference assistant coach. “Coaching and management can always change; he has the stature to affect that change, to influence how the organization is run.” [↩]