Things haven’t been exactly perfect for the Cleveland Cavaliers and Kyrie Irving since their relationship began, but the former number one overall draft pick decided that for the good of his career, he’s going to keep on trying with a franchise that hasn’t been exactly known to make incredible decisions these last few years, signing the max extension that keep them there through the 2019-2020 season.
Irving has one more year on his rookie deal worth $7 million before his extension kicks in, worth $90 million over the following five seasons. The Cavs and the All-Star point guard didn’t wait announcing the deal being brokered, as both Dan Gilbert and Irving tweeted that it has been struck, putting an end to any kind of speculation that still remained about his future and commitment to the franchise.
So what does this mean for Cleveland? More of the same, with hope of it being better. It’s been four years since LeBron James took off into the night and left them stunned, broken and mostly bad. It took one awful year to land Irving with the draft pick. Three years later, and the Cavs still haven’t made the postseason, and recently got to pick for a third time in four seasons with the number one overall draft pick, this time getting Andrew Wiggins to join forces with fellow top picks Irving and Anthony Bennett.
While Bennett seems to be on his way to become a major bust, a part of future NBA lists, Irving is undeniably talented and good. He won the All-Star MVP last season, finally helping the East win. He was the 2011-2012 rookie of the year, but that is where the compliments end. His numbers so far (20.7 points, 5.8 assists) are good, but he hasn’t been the kind of player and especially point guard that rallies a team around him and makes them better.
Last season was extremely frustrating. Despite evidently out of the rebuild phase and going for a playoff spot, the Cavs missed out again and actually played better without Irving in the late stages of the season as he was injured once again, so far missing 49 games through his first three NBA seasons. He isn’t getting along with Dion Waiters and at times criticized for being way too selfish on a team that needs more leadership and navigational skills, not scoring.
But you don’t give up on Franchise players. You can’t keep hitting the restart button. Eventually, you win and succeed with stars. The San Antonio Spurs are unique, but they got their stars a long time ago, and ages along with them. The Cavs now hope that with Wiggins on board and Irving hopefully a lot happier than he was last season, things will finally start looking better for a franchise that hasn’t been through a lot of happy times since the summer of 2010.