Headlines

Another day, another reminder that the Cavs could trade Kyrie Irving

kyrie edit 

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)

  1. “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?” []
  2. “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.” []

  • BenRM

    LeBron is definitely going to the Knicks.

    Kyrie won’t turn down the money. No one ever does. Not even Kevin Love, who is just as good a player or better and was in a nearly identical situation.

  • Harv 21

    Controlling rights, matching rights, historic precedence aside, if Kyrie really wants out he has the ultimate leverage in this way: no team can withstand the disruption caused when its best player doesn’t want to be there. NBA rosters are too small and the players on the court too few to survive that.

    This is where someone says he’s just 21 and maybe not the most mature one at that, albeit one programmed to publicly say all the right things. And if they start winning next year he might change his mind when he’s 22. But the bottom line is they need to draft well and get another excellent player whether Kyrie wants in or out. Gilbert knows the deal and probably has nightmares about the failed moves to support LeBron. And that’s probably why Grant didn’t last the season.

  • mgbode

    no player in Irving’s position has ever declined to a sign a maximum contract offer.

    the only way for him to force his way out is to decline the max-extension (and that comes with all the extra money that the Cavs can offer him), sign the QO (so, a reduced rate for a year too), and become a pariah locally (and potentially nationally at least for awhile as, again, noone has ever done it).

    the Cavs have Irving until at least 2016. I don’t get why they would be forced to trade him in 2014. teams will line up to trade for him if Kyrie does force his way out. We can gauge the market if he won’t sign the max-extension, but it’s not like we’d be forced to deal him then.

    Anyways, BW knows he’s just trolling us:
    Irving will probably sign a contract offer from the Cavs in some form and anything else would end up as a negotiating ploy.

  • wow

    This part says it all:
    “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.

    Run, dude. Run away from that city and that owner now.

  • JNeids

    I almost threw my computer across the room when I read this line in Amin’s article:

    “One retired NBA veteran said: ‘If it were my son, no way I’d let him pass up the money. You’ve got to be secure financially before you can make those types of decisions.'”
    You know, because who could ever feel financially secure if they only got $5M instead of $10M?

  • wow

    yeah, but the fact that the situation exists in the first place is, in my opinion, indicative of the bigger problem. who would or will want to come to cleveland to play ball? ever?

  • mgbode

    players want to play in warm weather cities and for big market teams. that hasn’t changed nor will it likely.

  • mgbode

    counter-argument: who in their right mind would throw away $5mil to do the same job?

  • JNeids

    I understand your counter-argument. My focus was on the inability to comprehend that financial stability comes with any amount of millions (and before you start pointing out all the Vin Bakers out there, I realize that financially stable and financially smart are not one and the same).
    I also am of the belief that once you start earning millions, you forfeit most of the right to complain about your work environment, and if you feel the need to force your way out of your situation, you accept the possible pay decrease that comes with it.

  • mgbode

    that is fair I think. the one point to consider is that a vast majority of these guys have a very limited time in the sport and have very little to fall back on afterwards. so, if they make $10mil over 5 years, then that could be close to their true income over 30 years. I would guess that most people are better off to get that $$$ in small allotments over an extended period of time.

    Manny Ramirez actually structured his contract in such a way with the Red Sox. He’ll be getting paid until 2030 or so if I remember correctly (so close: 2026). Kevin Garnett did as well. Here’s a good list:

    http://espn.go.com/espn/story/_/id/7882542/stars-kevin-garnett-manny-ramirez-signed-deferred-contracts-espn-magazine

  • JNeids

    That’s brilliant…I had never heard of those contract structures before. Thanks for sharing!

  • EyesAbove

    I still have a hard time believing that he is arrogant and/or dumb enough to turn down an extension. We still have time to make this work, and Kyrie still has time to prove that he is in fact a “franchise player”. At least Kyrie says (publicly) that he wants to be here, something LeBron never did.

  • mgbode

    something LeBron never did.

    “I got a goal, and it’s a huge goal, and that’s to bring an NBA
    championship here to Cleveland,” James said. “And I won’t stop until I
    get it.”

    and

    “I never wanted to leave Cleveland. My heart will always be in that area … in a perfect world I would have loved to stay.”

    There are others, but you get the point. He said it as well.

  • EyesAbove

    Dangit! He did say that didn’t he? I’d downvote myself but it wont let me.

  • mgbode

    Let’s mark it positive. Up votes only 🙂

  • cmm13

    “so, if they make $10mil over 5 years, then that could be close to their true income over 30 years”
    $10 million dollars for 30 years of work… none of us will see that. ever.
    So to me, if you are an “elite athlete” (which really is just something that the fans, media and marketing created) and you are disgruntled with your high pressure, no fun, never get the feeling of a “job well done” environment…. go be a janitor.
    Those guys have tons of fun jamming to their iPods all day, have little pressure and always get a sense of reward when they see a sparkling bathroom.

  • Steve

    Exactly. If Irving wants out, he’ll demand a trade, like we have seen multiple times around the league. He’s not going to risk his FA dollars.

  • cmm13

    The other quote that rarely gets mentioned but drives me INSANE is the one from the author of the ESPN piece Windhorst.
    Everyone LOVES to run to his defense that we’d all take the money if we were him.
    But people forget his national quote “no matter where LeBron signs I will be right here covering the Cavaliers next year”.
    Seems you can’t trust anyone when there’s a buck to be made.

  • mgbode

    though the only max player that has forced his teams hand ahead of his FA period (and it was after he signed his extension) was Carmelo.

  • Steve

    Right, spot on work as usual.

  • Steve

    Multimillion dollar athletes provide entertainment worth billions to the public. I have no problem with each and every one of them getting their fair share of the pie, even if it’s more than the average joe could even dream of. Multi-million dollar athletes can shut up as soon as the average joe provides something commensurate to the public’s demand for entertainment..

  • cmm13

    I don’t equate the two.

    Athletes provide entertainment to the public but the billions of dollars are going to owners and advertisers. (An even greedier breed of human).

    And maybe if the public demanded worthwhile entertainment as opposed to the catering of spoiled men-children we’d have a better place to live.

  • Steve

    Players get about half the total revenue in the major league sports.

    And of all the forms of entertainment that you think reflect poorly on society, you chose sports? Huh?