Monday is the deadline for first-round picks from 2014 to get extensions off their NBA rookie deals, and it’s been anything but a booming business for almost all of the draft’s big name-players. Of the 30 first-rounders, only No. 1 pick Andrew Wiggins received a full, $148-million extension over five seasons from the Minnesota Timberwolves. “He’s earned it,’’ said Timberwolves president/coach Tom Thibodeau. Nobody else has, but this is what happens when no one has been named to an All-Star team and only a handful of players have advanced to the post-season. Wiggins and the top four picks have failed to make the playoffs entirely during their first three NBA seasons. Among players selected in
The NBA season starts Tuesday night in Cleveland, with LeBron James taking on “the kid,” the pejorative term he used more than once to describe Kyrie Irving when asked about Irving’s decision to force his way out of Cleveland. Why would LeBron be so condescending toward a former teammate who only delivered the most important shot in Cleveland basketball history? Irving is the first star, and really the first player of note, who had the audacity to walk out on James. Nobody does that without repercussions. Here’s how it works. When James does the walking, as he did when he left Cleveland in 2010 and then Miami in 2014, he’s perfectly entitled. But not Irving, who now has his own team in Boston.
The last time Kyrie Irving played in an NBA game that counted, he was wearing a Cavaliers jersey. The 2017-18 NBA season begins Tuesday night in Cleveland when the Cavs host the Boston Celtics. Cleveland's trade of Irving to Boston for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, rookie center Ante Zizic and two draft picks in August was the league's blockbuster deal of the summer, and it adds considerable spice to the first game of the NBA's season when the Cavs and Celtics tip at 8 p.m. ET.
Kyrie Irving left Cleveland only two months ago. By James' own definition, he and Irving wouldn't be rivals yet. The rest of the NBA may argue otherwise, and when Boston and Cleveland meet in the season's opening game Tuesday night many may call it a rivalry game - not because the teams played in the Eastern Conference finals last spring but because James is still with the Cavs and Irving is now leading the Celtics.