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.
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?