People are flipping out because Kyrie said recently that signing an extension in Boston wouldn’t make sense. Does this mean that he doesn’t want to be here after next year? Not exactly.
Dr. Evil is the first one to pop into my head when I think about professional contracts. For him, and for them, a million dollars is insignificant. But could you imagine turning down $1,000,000? Now imagine turning down $87,000,000. You wouldn’t do it. You better not do it, because then you would just be stupid. Shouldn’t Kyrie want to stay in Boston even if he has to give up money? Shouldn’t he show loyalty to the team? That’s what we all want, right? Well, it turns out he can stay right here and get every penny of that $87,000,000, in fact, he would make more money if he stayed in Boston than if he left.
I’m not going to try to explain the NBA salary cap and the contract structure, because you might be tempted to play in traffic instead of reading it. Here’s what you need to know, players are incentivized to stay with the team they are on, and there is a cap to what a player can earn depending on the year and where they are signing. With that in mind, here’s what Kyrie has available to him:
Resigns in Boston this offseason
If Kyrie were to sign an extension in Boston this offseason, the max contract that he could receive would be 4 years for $101M.
Opts out and signs somewhere other than Boston next offseason
If Kyrie decides to opt out of his contract next year, which he almost certainly will, he will become a free agent, free to sign with whatever team he wants. If he decides to sign with any of the other 29 teams other than Boston, the max contract that he could receive would be 4 years for $139M.
Opts out and signs in Boston next offseason
Again, in this scenario Kyrie would opt out of his current contract, which he will almost certainly do. If he decides to resign in Boston after opting out, the max contract that he could receive would be 5 years for $188M.
The reason everyone assumes he will opt out of his current contract before next season is because he’s slated to make $21M next year, and, as you can see, he’ll be able to make a ton more money by opting out and signing a new deal next offseason. I also realize that it’s an extra year if he stays in Boston, but the per year still ends up more if he signs that deal, and since all contracts in the NBA are guaranteed, he will definitely be getting that money.
So everyone can take a sigh of relief. Kyrie isn’t planning on leaving next offseason, at least as far as we can tell. With Danny Ainge running the Celtics, there’s no way to know what is going to happen with Kyrie this offseason. If he’s on the team at the end of next year, however, it is in his best financial interest to stay in Boston. If all goes well, they will be coming off a Finals run with a young, solid team with another top 10 pick in the upcoming draft, so hopefully it’ll be in his best interest for his happiness and his career to stay as well.
Pat is the host of the Weekend Warrior Podcast
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