How keen on San Antonio is Irving?
The Spurs have interest in Irving, league sources say, and Irving’s willingness to commit to an extension with the Spurs makes for legitimate win-now deal possibilities for Cleveland.
Would Irving really sign an extension with San Antonio? I doubt it.
Wojnarowski frequently uses the term “extension” interchangeably with “re-signing on a new contract,” which can lead to confusion. There is often a huge difference – including here.
Irving has two years left on his current contract before a player option. Beyond that, I previously wrote about his options:
The largest extension Irving could sign within six months of a trade is one year, $21,104,148. By contrast, Irving’s max salary if he opts out in 2019-20 projects to be about $32 million.
That’d be a large income drop while granting only one additional year of team control.
Six months after being traded, Irving could sign a three-year extension worth $73,361,218 ($24,453,739 annually). If he waits until July, he could sign a four-year extension worth $101,437,733 ($25,359,433 annually).
By contrast, if Irving plays out his contract then opts out in 2019, his max salary projects to be about $188 million over five years ($38 million annually) if he re-signs or $139 million over four years ($35 million annually) if he signs elsewhere.
So, there’s large incentive for Irving to forgo an extension. Anything larger than the one-year, $21,104,148 extension would require trust between Irving and the trading team, anyway.
It would be shocking if Irving signs an extension to facilitate a trade. He’d just be surrendering so much money.
Is Irving willing to make a non-binding commitment to re-sign with the Spurs in two years if they trade for him now? Maybe, but that wouldn’t necessarily mean much to them. Two years is a long time.
Besides, even beyond the extension confusion, San Antonio doesn’t have the expendable young star Cleveland covets in an Irving trade.