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The terms of the extension are reported to be in the neighborhood of five years, $90 million. In recent months, there were rumors that the Cavaliers weren’t going to offer Irving a max extension for fear that he would reject it and pursue unrestricted free agency. However, the Cavaliers sought out Irving first thing on Tuesday morning and sold him on committing to the franchise long-term. Newly hired head coach David Blatt and his associate head coach Tyronn Lue were key parts of the pitch. The Cavaliers also added another No. 1 pick to the roster last week, drafting a potential superstar swingman in Andrew Wiggins, who Irving is excited to play with.
With Irving locked up, the Cavaliers can now focus on building around him and selling free agents on being able to play with one of the best point guards in the league for the duration of their contracts.
The Cavaliers have the cap space to go after a max-level free agent and will at least reach out to LeBron James, despite the fact that his return seems unlikely. The Cavaliers have also been mentioned in association with disgruntled All-Star power forward Kevin Love, although he reportedly soured them on the idea of trading for him because he still intended to become a free agent.
Even if Love keeps that stance, it’s undeniable that the Cavaliers are a lot more stable and attractive than they were just a month ago. That’s without a single dollar of their cap space for this summer spent. Free agents that may not have given them serious consideration before will have to re-evaluate now, because they’re headed in the right direction fast and appear to be just a piece or two away from making a serious leap up the Eastern Conference pecking order.
Unlike LeBron James, who is letting his agent Rich Paul handle all preliminary meetings and may even reportedly head to Brazil to enjoy the World Cup, Carmelo Anthony seems intent on speeding through this process and making his decision relatively quickly.
Basketball Insiders’ Alex Kennedy reported that Bulls center Joakim Noah has been heading up Chicago’s recruitment of Anthony and that Derrick Rose may be willing to get involved as well. Dirk Nowitzki and Tyson Chandler will try to persuade Anthony to join them in Dallas. James Harden and Dwight Howard will be calling on behalf of Houston. Kobe Bryant has already reached out for the Lakers. Clearly, there’s no shortage of star power trying to lure Carmelo away from New York.
The Knicks’ primary advantage in negotiations is that they can offer him more than any other team since they possess his Bird rights. However, Knicks president Phil Jackson has made it clear that he is looking for Carmelo to take a pay cut so that they can have the financial flexibility needed to build a contender around him. Despite not being as accomplished, Carmelo’s talent level is great enough to justify taking the same max-only stance that LeBron is. That may narrow his potential suitor list, though.
By the time those dominoes fall in free agency, the Timberwolves will have a pretty good idea of how the offseason is going to go for them. If they’re unable to make the necessary moves to get Love to change his mind about staying there long-term, they’re going to have to start taking the trade offers they’ve been receiving for months very seriously.
In the midst of a decade-long playoff drought, the Timberwolves seem to be uninterested in trading Love for a package built around draft picks and young, unproven talent. They want to be able to improve from this trade, not take a step back – as hard as that may be given the circumstances.
According to sources with knowledge of the situation, the Warriors still look to be the most likely candidate to land Love. They have the pieces to get a deal done, but the two sides have yet to actually agree to terms. Free agency is slowing things down more than anything right now.
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