Whether or not you think Kyrie Irving is worth a max contract, the Cleveland Cavaliers seem to think so. According to ESPN’s Chris Broussard, the Cavs will be flying to New Jersey today in order to offer Irving a max deal when free agency starts July 1. The contract will be worth $90 million over five years and Irving is expected to sign it.
A few weeks ago, The Plain Dealer’s Terry Pluto reported the Cavs would offer Irving a max contract as soon as they were allowed to do so.
The Cavs and NBA fans in general have questioned Irving’s leadership and most especially his defense, two concerns that will continue to be a story in Cleveland until he can stay healthy for a full season and lead the Cavaliers back to the playoffs. But after taking Andrew Wiggins with the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, the future is starting to look a little bit brighter and the Cavs are wise to lock Kyrie Irving down if they can.
Irving didn’t even play 60 games in each of his first two seasons, but in 2013-14 he was able to play a career-high 35.2 minutes per game in 71 games. He averaged 20.8 points, 6.8 assists, 3.6 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game while shooting 43 percent from the field and 35.8 percent from downtown.
Though Dion Waiters and Irving denied having a physical altercation after a team meeting in November, the level of discomfort between Cleveland’s up-and-coming star backcourt reached heights that prompted reports the Cavs were actively shopping Waiters to alleviate the tension. Waiters lost his starting job to Jarrett Jack and became Cleveland’s sixth man for an extended period. Many wondered if Irving and Waiters could play together. However, Irving has the skill set to be a franchise player and seems to be much happier with the Cavaliers now:
Sources close to @KyrieIrving say he’s happy so far with coach David Blatt. “Most positive talk I’ve ever heard btwn Kyrie & Cavs,” said 1
— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) June 30, 2014
Will Kyrie Irving ever be the best player on a championship team? Maybe, maybe not, but it seems unlikely given he’s actually regressing defensively from season to season and the fact that this league still belongs to LeBron James and Kevin Durant. But for the Cavaliers, who are trying to build themselves back into a playoff team and future contender, locking down Irving was one of those “lesser of two evils” situations. The Cavs chose correctly.