The Cavalier are reportedly looking to lock their talented point guard down for a full five years
Maximum contracts belong to the true superstars of the NBA. Offering a player the maximum available money shows your willingness as an organization to make a player your on-court leader and the face of your franchise.
While the player reaps the monetary benefits of such a contract, they are also the first in the firing line when the team fails to perform, whether they’re to blame or not. They also become a media target, scrutinized to the nth degree both on and off the court. Is Kyrie Irving ready for of all of this?
According to Terry Pluto of the Plain Dealer, the Cavaliers “have no doubts about offering Irving the 5-year deal, and will do so”, offering him “whatever the maximum number [of money] is.”
Irving becomes eligible for the contract extension on July 1st and if he is indeed offered the maximum amount of money he could earn anywhere upwards of $70 million over the 5 years of his contract.
While Kyrie Irving is undoubtedly one of the most talented offensive players in the game today, it is the other facets of his game and personality in general that have been called into question this season.
Cleveland experienced an unhealthy amount of dressing room politics this year, with point guard Dion Waiters speaking out against the Cavaliers “double standards” when it comes to its treatment of Irving.
How will Waiters feel now that Cleveland are willing to offer Irving a maximum contract after a year in which Irving’s numbers dipped in several statistical categories while they have actively attempted to trade Waiters, despite increases in points, rebounds, assists, field goal percentage and three-point percentage from his rookie year?
Beyond Waiters’ grievances, however, lies a deeper concern. A divided locker room and a 33-49 record suggest that Irving may not be ready for the leadership role that the Cavaliers appear eager for him to take.
There have been murmurings around the league for some time now that Irving is simply not made of what it takes to be top dog in the NBA. Earlier this year Jason Lloyd reported that certain league GM’s believed Irving was “pouting” during the Cavs latest unsuccessful campaign.
Ultimately, this is all quite harsh on Irving. The guy is an absolutely mesmerising basketball player and his All-Star MVP award is testament to that.
He can shoot the lights out and is almost unguardable at times. If the Cavaliers didn’t offer him a max contract now then someone else would surely come in and do so a few years down the line. Doing so now at least makes a statement of intent.
The doubts, however, will remain until Irving can silence them.