The Cleveland Cavaliers will attempt to make Kyrie Irving part of their long-term plans to build an NBA champion by reportedly offering him a max contract when free agency begins at midnight Tuesday.[tweet https://twitter.com/Chris_Broussard/statuses/483674817250738176 align=”center”]
We can debate all day long if Irving is worthy of a max contract — he averaged 20.8 points, 6.1 assists and 3.6 rebounds per game last season — but the fact of the matter is the Cavaliers don’t have much of a choice. He’s their best player, one of the NBA’s elite point guards and someone who could draw other top-tier free agents to Cleveland. Refusing to offer him the max would send a bad message to a group of fans who still are furious over losing LeBron James in the summer of 2010.
If Irving elects to stay long term, he could form a formidable duo with recent No. 1 overall draft pick Andrew Wiggins. The Cavaliers’ roster has a lot of talented young players, which could help them acquire a veteran frontcourt player to complement the team’s excellent depth in the backcourt.
The first step is to persuade Irving to remain in Cleveland long term, and with the team far away from competing in the Eastern Conference title race, signing the former No. 1 pick might be difficult.