By Alex Raffalli / @AlexRaffalli
Kyrie Irving has agreed to sign a five-year extension with the Cleveland Cavaliers. This according to Cavs owner, Dan Gilbert, who tweeted out confirmation of the deal early Tuesday morning.
— Dan Gilbert (@cavsdan) July 1, 2014
Irving, for his part, confirmed the agreement when he tweeted out the following.
I’m here for the long haul Cleveland!!! and I’m ecstatic!! Super excited and blessed to be here and apart of something special.#ClevelandKID
— Kyrie Irving (@KyrieIrving) July 1, 2014
Back in early May, when all of us were still clueless about the Cavaliers upcoming luck in the NBA Draft Lottery, people were wondering what the future was going to be for a Cleveland franchise that had just fired it’s third coach in four seasons. Six weeks later, skeptics must now come to terms with the bright future that currently surrounds the Cavaliers.
Today, Kyrie Irving did what any reasonable person who understands the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement would have done in his position: he shook hands with majority owner Dan Gilbert on a deal that could make him up to $90 million richer (before taxes) in 2019.
Sidenote on the deal: it will only be worth this much if Irving, a two-time All-Star, meets at least one of the Derrick Rose Rule requirements by the end of 2014-15. The requirements Irving can still reach are being voted in as a starter in his second NBA All-Star Game and/or winning the NBA Most Valuable Player award. Otherwise, Irving’s deal will–only–be worth 25 percent of the salary cap during those five years as opposed to 30 percent.
Irving’s agent, Jeff Wechsler, said that the Cavaliers new coaching duo of David Blatt and Tyronn Lue were a great influence, convincing the 22-year-old in a meeting with management very early Tuesday morning to sign the extension. But everyone knows that the New Jersey native would have agreed to that contract even if I had been named coach of the Cavaliers.
When I say everyone, I mean everyone outside of a handful of national writers and a few thousand Lakers fans who have no idea what they’re talking about.
Newly appointed Cavs General Manager David Griffin, who said on Friday during Andrew Wiggins’ introductory press conference that he hoped selecting the Kansas phenom No. 1 overall–the Cavaliers third top selection in four seasons–was the first move of a “monumental” offseason. Reaching this extension with Irving, on the heels of acquiring Wiggins last week, proves that Griffin wasn’t wrong.
This summer has now become a monumental success for the Cavs already.
Every decision the ex-Suns decision-maker has executed so far has been met with public acclaim and fan support. From recruiting Blatt and Lue to replace Mike Brown, to selecting Wiggins with the first overall pick, and now making sure that Irving wears Wine & Gold until I hit my thirties. Grif is going Albert Belle circa 1995 so far with homerun after homerun.
This very exciting start to the 2014 summer does not mean the Cavaliers are done, either. There is still plenty of work to be accomplished over the next several months. There is a pending decision with Tristan Thompson, the power forward who is reported (hum…) to seek a $44 to $48 million extension and could be forced into restricted free agency next summer if the Cavs wish to let the market decide his value and act accordingly (they would be able to match any offer sheet Thompson signs).
Then there are the cases of C.J. Miles (who Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio has reported is meeting with the Indiana Pacers today) and Spencer Hawes who Griffin could try to resign if the money is right. And there is of course the much bigger elephant in the room, too.
But while the past three seasons the Cavaliers have been in the asset collection business, under the rule of former-GM Chris Grant, that’s now over. The Cavaliers haven’t spent much in free agency recently, with the exception of Jarrett Jack’s contract (four years, $25 million). Most of the other contracts they signed included at least some un-guaranteed money and no long-term deals. Now, with the addition of Wiggins–which management believes is a big shooting guard rather than a small forward–and the signing of Irving, the Cavaliers could go after a max-free agent if they wished.
I believe they will. I also believe the Cavs are going to continue to spend a lot of money this summer to improve the team, all the while staying within Griffin’s guidelines that he set during his first press conference as the new GM: shooting, offense, length, spacing and fit.
Whether they go after that one guy everyone is thinking about, I don’t really know. And I don’t really care. I’m too excited about the addition of Wiggins and the extension of Irving to think about any else right now.