Cleveland Cavaliers fans already know the pain of losing a marquee franchise star and face a battle to stop Kyrie Irving following an example set by LeBron James this summer, according to ESPN.
Irving has become Cleveland's standout player this season, justifying a 2011 first-round pick with performances that led to All-Star selection, plus the title of MVP in this year's All-Star game.
The Cavs are ready to offer Irving the maximum possible contract extension at the first possible opportunity, which comes on July 1st, which will then give the 21-year-old until October to commit to Cleveland on a long-term basis.
ESPN are reporting that if Irving hasn't put pen to paper by the October 31st deadline for third-players to extend deals he will be traded, although Cleveland are in the enviable position of being match any deal offered he enters free agency in 2015.
Cavs fans will be mindful that James walked away for nothing four years ago in a decision that still holds bitter resentment in Ohio, making Cleveland team owner Dan Gilbert's position in the Irving negotiations a tough one to call.
Despite Irving's best efforts Cleveland are struggling to make the play-offs this season, with a run of three losses on the bounce further hampering their chances of snatching the Eastern Conference's eighth and final spot in the postseason.