Less than two hours into the start of one of the most anticipated offseasons in recent memory, the Cleveland Cavaliers and point guard Kyrie Irving signed a 5-year extension worth $90 million, according to Yahoo! Sports Adrian Wojnarowski. While the deal cannot be made official until July 10th, the deal is as good as done; which is no doubt a relief to a franchise that is all to familiar with their star player leaving in free agency.
Irving, who will make $7,070,730 in his last year of his rookie contract, is guaranteed to be a Cavalier for the next 6 years.
The number 2011 number 1 overall pick has shined in the league since he’s been drafted, averaging 20.7 points per game, 5.8 assists per game and 3.6 rebounds per game in his first three years. Since 2011, Irving has the 8th highest PER (player efficiency rating, a measure of per-minute production) among guards. He’s been an almost unstoppable player at times, on a team where he doesn’t have much support.
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The early knock on Irving has been his ability to stay on the floor. He’s missed 15 games during his stellar rookie season, and the most games he’s played in a season was last year, playing in 71 games. To be fair, he brought the injury upon himself his rookie year when he broke his hand slapping it against a padded wall after committing a turnover in practice.
With the addition of Andrew Wiggins last week’s draft combined with this extension, the Cavaliers have a bright future ahead of them. There will be plenty of chatter that Irving isn’t a max level player, but this was a move that the Cleveland franchise had to make. While they are still a few pieces away from being serious contenders, in a suddenly tumultuous Eastern Conference, don’t be surprised if the Cavs make some noise in the near future.