Kyrie Irving, Cavs agree to extension

Tuesday, July 01, 2014
Dogged by rumors that he was wanted out of Cleveland, franchise cornerstone Kyrie Irving and Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert tweeted early Tuesday that they have agreed to terms on a five-year contract extension.

The deal will be worth approximately $90 million, the maximum allowed under the NBA's collective bargaining agreement, sources with knowledge of the situation told ESPN.

Irving had one year remaining on his contract. The agreement, which will go into effect next season and will run through the 2019-20 season, was announced by Gilbert on his Twitter feed.

Looking forward to the next 6 years of @KyrieIrving in CLE. Just shook hands &intend to sign on the 10th.Cant be more excited about @cavs...

- Dan Gilbert (@cavsdan) July 1, 2014The contract cannot be signed until July 10.

Gilbert, Cavs general manager David Griffin, new coach David Blatt and other team officials traveled to Irving's home in New Jersey and presented him with the offer just as free agency began at 12:01 a.m. ET Tuesday to put a bow on their offseason priority. 

After Irving was noncommittal about his future in Cleveland for most of last season, he wasted little time after the market opened at midnight Tuesday to show Cavaliers fans that he's all-in.

I'm here for the long haul Cleveland!!! and I'm ecstatic!! Super excited and blessed to be here and apart of something special.#ClevelandKID

- Kyrie Irving (@KyrieIrving) July 1, 2014Irving has made two straight All-Star Games, was named MVP of last year's festival in New Orleans and has positioned himself as the new-age point guard, a ball-dominant, score-first attacker. 

But Irving also has been prone to injury, has had a difficult time getting on the same page with his backcourt mate Dion Waiters and has been criticized at times for a style of play that was perceived as selfish.

Irving, who will play for his third coach in four seasons, has yet to play in a playoff game in his first three years and grew irritated toward the end of last season by the constant speculation about his future in Cleveland.

The move was also a smart financial decision for Irving. Had he declined the massive extension, Irving still would have had to play two more seasons before being eligible for unrestricted free agency. He could have become a restricted free agent in the summer of 2015. But any other team could have offered him only a four-year deal, not the five years that the Cavaliers gave him, and Gilbert would have had the right to match any offer Irving received.

Getting Irving's commitment is also symbolic; the Cavs signed former star LeBron James to only a three-year contract extension in 2006, and it set the stage for his departure from the team in 2010. Gilbert had vowed not to let that happen again with a star player.

Irving had a bit of a rocky season in 2013-14. Irving, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 draft, averaged 20.8 points and 6.1 assists in a career-high 71 games for the Cavs last season, and even though he made the All-Star team, his shooting stats dipped and the team underachieved. Irving did not develop a strong relationship with former coach Mike Brown, who was fired in May.

It left questions as to how committed Irving was to a long-term future in Cleveland.

That is no longer an issue, as Irving's quick decision gives a major vote of confidence to the team's new leadership.

Combined with a forthcoming four-year deal with No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins, it also arms the Cavs with a selling point as they attempt to be aggressive in free agency.

The Cavs are seeking a meeting with James but also have interests elsewhere, including re-signing their own free agent, Spencer Hawes

ESPN's Brian Windhorst and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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