Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving has one year remaining on his current contract, but is eligible to lock in for a long-term extension this summer worth around $101 million over four years.
He doesn’t plan on doing so.
Irving not interested in long-term deal despite knee issues
Irving told reporters on Tuesday that it doesn’t make sense to extend this summer, despite questions about his long-term health over lingering knee issues.
“Contractually, financially, it just doesn’t make any sense,” Irving told reporters.
At first blush, a player coming off a second extended layoff due to complications from a broken kneecap would seem wise to lock up long-term guaranteed money.
But, as the Boston Globe describes, Irving is right. It really doesn’t make sense to sign a long-term deal this summer.
Gambling on knee could have lucrative payoff for Irving
While Irving could lock up a fortune with a new deal this summer, he’d be due an extra $87 million by waiting until next year.
Thanks to the structure of NBA contracts and increased TV revenue next year, Irving will be eligible to sign a five-year deal worth $188 million if he chooses to stay with the Celtics, who retained his Bird rights in the trade from the Cavs allowing them to go over the salary cap to retain a player.
Waiting lets Irving see how things play out in Boston
Waiting also gives Irving the obvious option to sign with another team. The thought of leaving a team with a young core expected to compete for Eastern Conference crowns for years to come sounds absurd. But we’re talking about the guy who waived $5.8 million in order to not play with LeBron James.
And if he does choose to opt for another team, it would still be more lucrative than extending this summer. A max free-agent deal for Irving with a team that’s not the Celtics next season would be worth $139 million over four years.
And with talk of mutual interest between James and the Celtics, who knows? Maybe Irving will bolt again.
So it basically boils down to Irving betting on his knee. A healthy, 26-year-old Irving obviously fits the bill of an NBA max player. As long as his knee or another body part doesn’t give teams cause for serious long-term concern next season, waiting will prove to be a lucrative decision for Irving.
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