Culture of Hoops

Max Deal: Kyrie Irving decides to walk the line with Cavaliers

Image courtesy of Erik Daniel Drost/Flickr.

Image courtesy of Erik Daniel Drost/Flickr.

Baller Mind Frame’s No Layups brings you the hottest NBA stories mixed with personal opinion from our very own Aaron Lanton. Check it often and absorb the knowledge we’re dropping on you!


Kyrie Irving and the Cleveland Cavaliers agreed in principle to a five-year, $90 million extension that runs through the 2019-20 season in the wee hours of the first day of free agency. This is somewhat surprising given that multiple reports using unnamed sources adamantly stated that Irving was unhappy with the situation in Cleveland, and would be leaving unless several changes were made. Irving fired back in a series of tweets immediately following those reports.

The fact that the extension was agreed upon less than a few hours after the free agency period began indicates that Irving and the Cavaliers had been in cahoots before midnight struck. It’s not like the Cavaliers have any guarantees coming up.

  • The front office has done a great job of making cap room available for the future, but the staff has not been consistent since Irving arrived and plans seem to change on a whim. Speaking of which…
  • Irving is about to play for his third coach in four years. This includes Mike Brown being relieved of his duties after one year to make it work. Chemistry issues aside, the roster was not ready to make noise in the playoffs, and no one expected Anthony Bennett to play as horribly as he did last season.

  •  LeBron James is not coming home anytime soon.
  • No one knows how good Andrew Wiggins will become.

It is also worth mentioning that Irving would have been a restricted free agent next summer, and another team would have likely offered a max contract, albeit with less years. Irving could have agreed to a max deal for less years and been on the market as an unrestricted free agent before 2020, a basketball eon from now. Agreeing to a 5-year deal indicates that Irving either believes in the Cavaliers’ long-term plans, or that he believes he’s too injury-prone to take a risk on losing gobs of money in future guaranteed salaries. I think it’s the former.

The Cavaliers three best assets going forward are Kyrie Irving, Andrew Wiggins and cap space galore. They are still in good shape despite years of front office mismanagement, copious amounts of turnover on the coaching staff and the curse of Lebron. It’s hard to imagine a scenario where this goes wrong. Then again, this is Cleveland and those moments always go beyond human imagination.

Godspeed, Kyrie.

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