JULY 10TH: The extension is official, the team announced.
“We couldn’t be happier to have Kyrie firmly at the core of our Cavaliers team and family for years to come,” Cavs GM David Griffin said in the team’s release. “He’s already proven he’s among the best in the NBA and we’re excited to watch his continued growth and success. To know that he is all in and shares our high expectations and championship goals is something we’re extremely proud of. It is a clear reflection of how we all view our future together, with Kyrie fully vested in this franchise and the city of Cleveland.”
JULY 1ST: The Cavs and Kyrie Irving have agreed to an extension, according to a tweet from owner Dan Gilbert. Irving intends to sign a five-year, $90MM maximum-salary extension with the team, a league source tells Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports (on Twitter). The commitment came in a meeting which took place early Tuesday morning. The deal makes Irving the Designated Player for the Cavs, and he can earn a higher maximum salary via the Derrick Rose rule, as Grantland’s Zach Lowe confirms (Twitter link).
There has been some doubt as to whether the Cavs could keep Irving for the long haul or whether the star guard was even wanted in Cleveland after a tumultuous season. However, this bombshell in the early hours of free agency puts an end to that sort of talk. According to Gilbert’s tweet, the deal will be officially signed on July 10th once the moratorium ends.
Irving has had a tumultuous first three years in the NBA after being selected No. 1 overall by Cleveland in the 2011 draft. While he has exhibited the offensive talent that made him worth that selection, the team has failed to make the playoffs or even finish with a .500 winning percentage. Last year’s disappointing 33-win Cavs team was actually the best of the Irving era, and the fallout from a disastrous Andrew Bynum signing, a historically bad rookie year for 2013′s No. 1 pick Anthony Bennett, and continued losing resulted in the mid-season firing of former GM Chris Grant and ex-coach Mike Brown’s dismissal after the season.
Despite the ugly season, Irving is reportedly pleased with the decision to make GM David Griffin the permanent executive after Griffin’s strong run as interim GM during the season. Irving has publicly refuted persistent rumors that he wanted out of Cleveland, but he has stopped short of guaranteeing he will re-sign for the years ahead. Griffin is a believer in the backcourt pairing of Irving and Dion Waiters, and the team experienced a relative turnaround once Griffin took the reigns to foster a positive culture around the two ball-dominant guards.
Cray Allred contributed to this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.