Reports surfaced the Cleveland Cavaliers were thinking of bucking the conventional wisdom by not offering two-time all-star Kyrie Irving a maximum extension this summer. It appears those rumors were false.
According to Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the team will be offering the longest and largest contract they can under the league’s collective bargaining agreement, and any rumor to the contrary was “simply wrong.” Pluto also uses fourth-year Wizards point guard and former No. 1 pick John Wall as an example of what the Cavs are hoping in return for the offer:
The Cavs will offer Irving the full 5-year maximum contract. There have been reports that they were having second thoughts — that’s simply not true. Reports about the Cavs even considering backing away from a maximum contract are simply wrong.
My sources tell me that the Cavs have had no doubts about offering Irving the 5-year deal, and will do so. Once July 1 arrives — the first date that an extension can be offered — the Cavs will set up a meeting with Irving. They will present their All-Star guard with a contract extension, a 5-year deal in the $90 million range (or whatever is the maximum number).
The hope is that he will sign the five-year deal, much like John Wall did with Washington before the 2013-14 season. That was a signal to Washington’s players and fans that he was committed to the team. And yes, Wall’s commitment did help the Wizards come together as a team and make the playoffs, upsetting Chicago in the first round.
The difference between offering Wall and Irving max extensions after three years of production, stems from Wall’s elevated play through the latter portion of the 2012-13 season after returning from a left patella strain in the first part of the year. Irving has shown no such improvement, and as we mentioned before, his numbers fell off a bit in his third season — even if his defense improved slightly based off defensive win shares, per basketball-reference.com, and the eye test: he was more committed to defense in Mike Brown’s system, trying to fight through screens, and bumping the big man before getting back on the pick-and-roll. He swatted 23 shots this season, while swiping a career-high 108 steals.
Still, the Cavs aren’t offering him the max because he’s a lock-down defender. Even when you take into account the second half of John Wall’s 2012-13 season, Irving’s slightly worse — in comparison to his first two years — 2013-14 season still towers over Wall’s production in his ascendent 2012-13 campaign.
Kyrie Irving is a max player, even if it makes Cleveland anxious he might decline the max extension when they offer in July. Irving has expressed support of the change for interim GM David Griffin to a permanent place as Cleveland’s GM. They’ve got their third No. 1 pick in four years in a loaded 2014 Draft.
Kyrie Irving "in complete support of" #Cavs' moves today, I'm told.
— Sam Amico (@SamAmicoFSO) May 13, 2014
Irving has also refuted reports there’s a simmering animosity with teammate Dion Waiters, or that he’s waiting to jump ship when his rookie contract runs out next summer.
The Cavs should offer the deal and put it on Kyrie to make a decision — regardless of how many times we’ve heard Irving might be unhappy staying in Ohio.
Should the Cavs offer Kyrie a max extension?
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