Posted on June 12, 2018, by Travis Pulver
When a player reaches the final year of his contract, whether he’s in the NBA, NFL, or MLB, he typically wants a new one before his final season under contract starts. It gives him a little security and tells him he has a future beyond the upcoming season. But Kyrie Irving doesn’t want that sense of security.
It is beginning to look like he may have a very good reason. Why commit to a team not 100 percent invested in you?
There is one season left on Irving’s current contract. You would think he would be interested in negotiating an extension and securing his place on the roster. But he isn’t. Instead, his focus has been on getting healthy and ‘redemption.’
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“The focus is solely on winning a championship next year. I don’t think [impending free agency will] necessarily have an effect. I’m doing my best to kind of deflect all that and focus on what’s in front of us.”
Sounds good, right? It probably is better for him to be focusing on getting his body back to 100 percent rather than how much he’ll get paid in 2021. But maybe there is a little more to it than that.
“Contractually, financially, [an extension] just doesn’t make any sense,” Irving said.
The value of an extension would be around $108 million over four years. But a new contract would be somewhere in the range of $188 million over five years. Who in the world wants to leave $80 million on the table?
That alone would be enough for anyone not to sign an extension. But in Irving’s case, there could be another reason. Maybe the Celtics aren’t serious about keeping him.
According to the rumor mill, the Celtics could be a potential destination for soon-to-be free agent LeBron James. Irving forced a trade just, so he could get away from James. So when it comes to rumors the Celtics may be interested in bringing him to Boston– he can’t be thrilled.
“In this business, I’ve kind of experienced it all, and I’ve seen a lot,” Irving said, “So we’ll see what management decides.”
Irving said the right thing, of course. If LeBron comes to Boston, he’ll be okay with playing with him again. But let’s be real—if he left Cleveland to get out from under LeBron’s shadow, he doesn’t want that shadow coming to Boston. He’ll be okay with playing with him again because he knows it will only be for one season.
But everyone is in the LeBron Sweepstakes this summer until he signs with someone. Boston’s supposed interest should make him annoyed but not worried. A move the Celtics tried to make during the season should have him concerned though.
They tried to acquire Kawhi Leonard.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Celtics attempted to trade for Leonard in February but were shut down:
The Boston Celtics made a trade offer to San Antonio before the February deadline, but the Spurs turned it down — and never made a counterproposal, league sources said. San Antonio wasn’t willing to discuss deals for Leonard in February. So far this spring, the Spurs remain resistant to trades.
Having an interest in LeBron James is one thing. But attempting to trade for a player who will require a max deal contract? With Gordan Hayward already making about $32 million a season, Leonard’s deal wouldn’t leave the Celtics much room to pay Irving.
With the Celtics apparently trying to acquire another superstar, it is not hard to see why Kyrie Irving could be reluctant to sign. If they were going for a big three it would be one thing. But with what they’d need to pay Leonard and what they are paying Hayward, he’d be the odd man out.