In the first big move of the 2014 NBA Free Agency period, the Cleveland Cavaliers and point guard Kyrie Irving have agreed to a five-year, $90 million max contract that ensures the franchise a slightly brighter future. I wouldn’t place any bets on them winning a title anytime soon, though.
Since becoming the first overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, Irving has solidified himself as the Cavaliers’ top player and arguably the best scoring point guard in the league. While injuries and a lack of top-tier defensive abilities have hindered his ascension to “elite” status, Irving getting locked down long term is a great thing for the Cavaliers.
I’m here for the long haul Cleveland!!! and I’m ecstatic!! Super excited and blessed to be here and apart of something special.#ClevelandKID
— Kyrie Irving (@KyrieIrving) July 1, 2014
The deal can’t be signed until July 10, but getting an agreement in place is huge for the Cavaliers. Not only does it show that they’re willing to do whatever it takes to keep young talent in town for extended periods of time, but it means they’re invested in getting better. While Irving has suffered from his fair share of ups and downs throughout his young NBA career, he’s obviously a player worth keeping around.
Chances are this move won’t help the Cavaliers’ odds of landing LeBron James via free agency, but it’s a step in the right direction for a franchise that can’t catch a break outside of the NBA Lottery. Now if only Anthony Bennett could suddenly develop into a decent basketball player, Cleveland might actually have a starting lineup worth worrying about. Having Andrew Wiggins will help, though.
Dan Gilbert isn’t exactly known for his smart personnel decisions, but I’d give him a mark in the “Win” column after locking down Irving long term.