INDEPENDENCE: Around the league, players refer to them as an “80 ball.” They are max contracts worth about $80 million over five years. John Wall has one now. Kyrie Irving might be next.
The Cavaliers can offer Irving a contract extension next summer, and provided he remains relatively healthy this season, they intend on making him a max offer. Now the market has been set by Wall, who was drafted No. 1 overall the year before Irving. Wall last month became the fifth point guard to sign a max contract, joining Derrick Rose, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook and Deron Williams.
Irving would be No. 6. He has an All-Star appearance – Wall does not – and Irving is generally regarded around the league as the better player. But he wasn’t interested in discussing his future Saturday at his basketball skills camp at Independence High School.
Asked directly if he would sign the full five-year extension with the Cavs next summer, Irving said, “I’m not really worried about that right now. Right now I’m focusing on the year ahead, my third year, then I’ll worry about that in the summer time.”
Irving’s future in Cleveland has been a topic of conversation since a New York radio host insisted on Twitter that Irving wouldn’t remain in Cleveland for long. Irving dismissed the report during a Team USA minicamp last month in Las Vegas, saying he was excited about the moves the organization made this summer and that “I’m a Cavalier right now. I’m happy to be a Cavalier.” Irving was asked Saturday why he qualified that with “right now.”
“Right now I’m a Cavalier. This is where I am. All that future stuff, I’m not really worried about,” Irving said. “I’m living in the moment right now and I’m just trying to get better with the teammates I have now and make the playoffs for Cleveland. That’s the only thing I can do right now is give it my all as it stands right now and that future stuff, I’m not really worried about it.”
The Cavs control Irving’s rights for three more seasons, and it’s worth noting no player has ever turned down a max contract coming off his rookie deal.
Irving will depart again early this week for Los Angeles and he is planning on inviting a number of his teammates to work out with him, similar to what he did in Las Vegas last month prior to summer league. He is expecting to hold similar workouts in September as well.
“I’m pulling everyone where I am,” Irving said. “So they better be there.”
While he avoided the topic of his contract with reporters, Irving did address the campers and their parents Saturday.
“I’ll be here awhile,” he said unprovoked after taking the microphone, “so everybody get used to my face.”