With Irving saying he plans to re-sign in Boston, fans will be able to sleep better perhaps. Unfortunately, nothing is done until his name is signed on that contract. But this is just another sign things are moving towards Irving returning to the Celtics as a free agent.
Sources: Kyrie Irving has met with Celtics ownership and has been direct with his message to Boston’s brass over past few months: He’s committed long-term to the franchise.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) October 4, 2018
Many had worried Irving wasn’t committed to Boston long-term, when he refused to sign an extension this summer. However, Irving has stated multiple times that was just a financial play for him. He stands to make considerably more money as a free in July of 2019 than he would by signing an extension now.
So, what’s next for Irving? Obviously making through the season healthy is top of mind. Following that, he’ll decline is player option for the 2019-20 season and he’ll become an unrestricted free agent.
If Irving stays true to his word, and there is no reason to doubt him at this point, he’ll re-sign with the Celtics, likely as free agency opens. It’s fair to expect that Irving will sign a max contract for play with his eight years of service. As of now, that contract is projected to be for five years and $189,660,000. This represents a starting salary of $32,700,00 in 2019-20 and the maximum eight percent raises.
Irving would also likely push for a player option on the final season of the deal in 2023-24. It’s also possible he’d ask for the maximum of a 15 percent trade bonus as part of the deal as well. These are common terms for a superstar player of Irving’s caliber.
At the start of the 2019-20 season, Irving will be 27 years-old and will have played in the NBA for eight seasons. Through the 2017-18 season. Irving has played in 441 regular season games and an additional 52 playoff games in his career, and hopes to considerably add to both of those figures this coming season.
Irving has averaged 22 points and 5.5 assist per game for his career while shooting 46.2 percent overall and 38.8 percent from behind the arc.
In his first season with the Celtics, Irving scored 24.4 points and dished out 5.1 assist per game. He shot a career-high 49.1 percent from the field, while knocking down 40.8 percent of his three-pointers. He also posted a career-best offensive rating of 118 and matching his career-high with a defensive rating of 106.
Irving re-signing to a maximum contract does present some risk for Boston, as he has had some major injuries in his career. However, both Irving and the team presented confidence that those issues are behind him following last season’s procedure on his knee.
A max deal for Irving also means that the Celtics will likely be deep in the luxury tax over the coming season. That could increase the team’s desire to move contracts this season to delay the impact of the harshly punitive repeater tax. Boston ownership has repeatedly said they have no problem paying the luxury tax for a title contender, which Irving makes them, but even the deepest-pocketed owners have limits.
Playing on a deep Celtics team, with Brad Stevens managing his workload, there shouldn’t be much concern that Irving won’t return value on a max deal. He’s entering his prime years, and showed in his first year in Boston just how special he can be. His seeming commitment to the team throughout this offseason means his spectacular play could also lead to some pretty special seasons for the team going forward as well. In a town where hanging the next banner is all that matters, that should be music to Boston fan’s ears.