Irving has maintained he enjoys playing for the Cavaliers, and soon, he’ll have a chance to prove it.
Between July 10 and Oct. 31, Irving can sign a contract extension for up to five years. Considering he’s by far the best thing the Cavaliers have going for them, I’d be shocked if they don’t offer a max contract.
What would Irving think of that?
“Obviously, I’m aware I can be extended this summer,” he said after the Cavs’ 114-85 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on April 16 before 19,842 at Quicken Loans Arena.
“It’s a big deal for me if they do offer me that. It will be exciting. I’ll make the best decision for me and my family. That’s what it will boil down to.”
Irving doesn’t sound like someone who wants out.
“I’ve been part of this, and I want to continue to be part of this,” he said. “We’ve made some strides in the right direction, especially as an organization. I want to be part of something special. I don’t have a definitive answer to that right now.”
Being excited is one thing. Wanting to be part of ‘’this” is one thing.
Actually signing the extension is another.
Irving is locked into a 2014-15 salary of $7,070,730. What he does after that – if the Cavaliers are willing to pay top dollar to lock him up long-term, which I think is quite likely – is in his hands.
Using a roughly estimated 2015-16 salary-cap projection of $ 67,121,000, here are the possible maximum paths for Irving’s next contract:
- Black: He signs the one-year qualifying offer, becoming an unrestricted free agent in 2016. This is the nuclear option.
- Wine: He signs a standard rookie-scale contract extension, which can be up to five years if the Cavaliers name him their designated player.
- Gold: He becomes the Cavaliers designated player and signs for a higher max salary – the 5th Year 30% Max – he’d have to earn next season. Irving would qualify only by being voted an All-Star starter or winning MVP next season. If he doesn’t, his salary would revert to the wine path. However, if Irving signs for the higher max salary, the deal must be for at least four years.
If Irving wants to leave Cleveland before 2020, it will cost him salary. The question would become how much Irving wants to sacrifice for greater flexibility.
He’ll have to make that assessment this summer, and then, we’ll learned just how “excited” he’d be by an extension offer from the Cavaliers.