Ah yes, "The Max Contract," it's a deal offered to only to the cream of the crop in the NBA and it is everything a player can ask for in a contract.
As well as the lucrative financial incentives it provides, it also brings with it a sense of respect and gratification because it means you are a valued member of an organisation and they would do everything in their power to have you in their line-up.
Kyrie Irving's rookie deal is set to expire at the end of the 2014-15 season, but he can negotiate the terms of his next deal with Cleveland this summer and a max contract is exactly what he is looking for.
Unfortunately the Cleveland Cavaliers aren't willing to play ball.
Per Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily Times:
“The Cavs are making noises that they aren’t going to offer Kyrie Irving 'max money' this summer via a long-term extension. They don’t want to deal the 2014 All-Star Game MVP, but it could come to that, especially if the West Orange product and his family continue to tell people that he wants out. Irving hasn’t been a leader in his first three seasons and he’s also gained the unwelcomed reputation as a locker-room problem. Those are two reasons the Cavs don’t see him as a max player.”
To some extent, it is understandable why the Cavs are averse to offering their star man the max contract. After all, those aren’t exactly the qualities you look for in a player when you trying to build a winner, and his reluctance to play defense doesn’t help matters much either.
Furthermore, the team is still to yet make it into the NBA Playoffs since LeBron James skipped town, meaning 2011 first overall pick in only the second No. 1 pick in 10 years to not make the playoffs in his first three seasons.
But this is Kyrie Irving we’re talking about. Anyone with half a brain will tell you he is a sure-fire max contract player. Just look at his list of accolades in his short time as a pro.
He has already earned Rookie of the Year honors; is an NBA Three-point Shootout Champion; has appeared in two All-Star games (once as a starter); and has already been named an All-Star game MVP.
If that isn’t enough to convince you or the Cavs, consider the fact that he is still only 22-years-old and is already one of the best point guards in the game.
Prior to the season, Sports Illustrated ranked him as the sixth best point guard in the NBA, and it's easy to see why. Irving can score at will, whether from long range or slicing his way into the lane to finish in traffic with either his right or left hand, thus his 20 points scoring average.
His 6.1 assists per game also demonstrate that he is a capable distributor of the ball, and he also possesses a killer crossover that has earned him the adoration of fans all over.
Sure, he has quite a bit of maturing to do as a leader and his health has been questioned on occasion, but he is still young and there is no doubt his talent is worthy of the maximum contract, and Cleveland better recognize that sooner rather than later.
Otherwise, they will end up with a losing him and/or being back in the draft lottery hunting for the No 1 draft pick again, instead of contending for an NBA Championship.
As for his defense (or lack thereof) ask the Oklahoma City Thunder whether or not they would still refuse to offer James Harden a max contract if they had the chance to do it all over again. For the record, James Harden has absolutely no defense what so ever.
Using an estimated 2015-16 salary-cap projection of $67,121,000, here are some potential maxi payout paths for Irving’s next deal - if it's with Cleveland of course.
•He signs the one-year qualifying offer worth just north of $9 million, becoming an unrestricted free agent in 2016.
• He signs a standard rookie-scale contract extension, which can be up to five years if the Cavaliers name him their designated player worth $90 million.
• He becomes the Cavaliers designated player and signs for a higher max salary – the 5th Year 30% Max – he’d have to earn next season. Irving would qualify only by being voted an All-Star starter or winning MVP next season and that could result in a $100 million deal.
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