Kyrie Irving says he plans on remaining a Celtic next summer in what was a very welcome announcement for the organization this week. Danny Ainge sacrificed significant assets for the All-Star last August and was willing to do so under the assumption that the Celtics would be able to retain the point guard through his prime years.
While a verbal commitment has been made by Irving to Boston, nothing is set in stone until next summer. Irving won’t sign any actual extension during this upcoming season since it makes no financial sense for him to do so. Once July 1st hits, Irving will be eligible for a bigger deal, and he’ll presumably sign on the dotted line then. Still, a question remains until that day arrives: How long does Irving plan on committing for? It’s a subject Irving did not want to discuss just yet, due to CBA rules.
“I just have every intention of signing back,” Irving said Friday. “Me and Danny and management have not talked about any numbers, so please do not ask me about it. That goes for anybody, we don’t want any tampering or anything like that. July first, whatever that day is, we’ll talk about contracts and stuff like that.”
Over the course of NBA history, most superstar free agents have opted for long-term security over flexibility and maximizing their earning power. However, there has been a small shift on that front in recent years as a number of top players (LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Paul George) have signed shorter deals than the traditional five-year max contract for a team with Bird Rights. James and Durant have opted for one or two-year deals, while George signed for three years (with a player option) with Oklahoma City last summer.
Those decisions create an interesting backdrop for Irving’s contractual choice this summer. Will he opt to maximize his earnings and maintain some flexibility? Or take the security of a five-year deal that would pay him over $190 million? Let’s take a closer look at his likely options and how those routes could impact the Celtics’ financial flexibility over the next several years.
UNDERSTANDING MAX CONTRACTS