Report: Cleveland Cavaliers do not want to offer Kyrie Irving max contact

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If the Cavaliers want to see how not offering the full max contract extension to Kyrie Irving would end, they should watch the Kevin Love saga unfold this summer (Minny’s GM at the time refused to offer Love a fifth year, one of the many problems in that relationship). Minnesota is going to lose its cornerstone player, and they pretty much have to trade him for less than equal value to get anything back in return.

Irving has some maturing to do as a team leader but the 22-year-old averaging 20.8 points and 6.1 assists a game, the All-Star Game MVP, is a clear max player, and he is eligible for that extension this summer.

And the Cavaliers may not want to give it to him, reports Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News.

The Cavs are making noises that they aren’t going to offer Kyrie Irving “max money’’ this summer via a long-term extension. They don’t want to deal the 2014 All-Star Game MVP, but it could come to that, especially if the West Orange product and his family continue to tell people that he wants out. Irving hasn’t been a leader in his first three seasons and he’s also gained the unwelcomed reputation as a locker-room problem. Those are two reasons the Cavs don’t see him as a max player.

“He was just handed too much, too soon,’’ said one source. “You’ve got to make these young guys earn it, and that’s where this team did a bad job with him.’’

Irving may need to mature, the Cavaliers may need to bring in some authority-commanding veterans to lead that locker room, but you have a 22-year-old All-Star point guard, one who is a gifted scorer and floor general, and you can pair him the No. 1 pick in a good (not transcendent, but good) draft. Be smart with the pick and you have cornerstones for building a future contender.

Unless you blow it.

There has been some buzz that Irving wouldn’t sign a max extension, but he basically shot that idea down. Everyone signs the max extension after their rookie contract (everyone — LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard and everyone else who forced their way out)… unless you don’t offer it.

This report flips that story on its head.

I wonder if the Cavaliers look at whoever they draft No. 1 and decide not to offer Irving the full five years of the max (you can only have one of those active at a time in the new CBA) and think they are going to offer him four years instead.

Which is what the Timberwolves did to Love. He signed it. But how did that work out?

Mavericks’ rookie guard Dennis Smith Jr. misses game with knee swelling

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DALLAS (AP) — Dallas Mavericks rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. missed Friday’s game against the Sacramento Kings with swelling in his left knee.

Smith, the ninth pick in the NBA draft out of North Carolina State, had 16 points and 10 assists in the Mavericks’ season-opening loss to the Atlanta Hawks.

Smith participated in the Mavericks’ shootaround on Friday morning and was a late scratch. It is not known if Smith will play Saturday for Dallas.

The Mavericks were also missing guard Devin Harris, who was granted leave of absence after his brother died on Thursday.

Watch Lonzo Ball’s 29 point, 11 rebound, 9 assist game Friday night

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This was more of what fans expected from Lonzo Ball.

After a rough first game against the Clippers — with Patrick Beverley in his face all night — Ball found plenty of room to operate against the soft defense of the Phoenix Suns. With room to operate Ball had 29 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists — just one assist short of a triple-double. He helped the Lakers pull away to a lead in the third then hold on for a 132-130 win over the Suns.

Ball wasn’t terribly efficient, 12-of-27 shooting, but he was 4-of-9 from three, he played with great pace, he was decisive, and was finding guys with his passes. It was a step forward, even if it was against a sad defense (Eric Bledsoe can be a good defender, but he has seemed disinterested in recent years).

Ball and the Lakers are going to be up and down this season, the goal is for there to be more ups near the end of the season.

LeBron James rejects Giannis Antetokounmpo at the rim

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Through the first couple games of the season, Giannis Antetokounmpo has put up impressive numbers — he dropped 34 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists on the Cavaliers Friday night.

But the Cavaliers still have LeBron James.

He had 24 points and 8 assists, leading Cleveland to the win.

LeBron also reminded the Greek Freak just how good a rim protector he is. Few people can slow Antetokounmpo on the drive, but LeBron is one of them.

Is it too early to root for a Cavs vs. Bucks playoff series?

Hawks’ DeAndre’ Bembry out with fractured wrist

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In their season opener Wednesday, Atlanta second-year man DeAndre’ Bembry came off the bench and played 17:45, scored six points and was +13 on the night. It was a good start to his career.

But now he is going to miss some time with a fractured wrist.

Bembry underwent an MRI, which revealed a fracture in his right wrist, the Hawks announced Friday. He will return to Atlanta with the team (the Hawks lost to the Hornets Friday night) and will meet with team doctors at the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center on Monday. His status will be updated after that.

“We just may play some other guys more, we may use some of the young guys,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer told the AP before Friday night’s game. “We’ll just figure it out tonight and as we move forward. I don’t think there’s anything guaranteed for anybody, it’s unfortunate for DeAndre’ and for us.”