Unless Kyrie Irving, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson feel like helping out their teams’ billionaire owners, they have no real reason to sign contract extensions this summer. As such, the “news” that they are unlikely to do so should not be seen as a lack of loyalty or a sign that they don’t want to stay where they are for the next few seasons. If, in fact, they were inclined to sign extensions, their agents would advise them against it.
Let’s look at the numbers for each player, starting with Irving. If he was to sign an extension rather than waiting for free agency, the most that the Boston Celtics could offer him is a four-year, $107 million deal. While that is a lot of money, it is quite a bit less than the five-year, $187.9 million deal Boston could offer him next summer. Even if Irving was to leave the Celtics next July, he could make more than he could by signing an extension — other teams will be able to offer him a four-year, $139.3 million deal.
If Boston signs him to a max deal in 2019, it would owe Irving $40.2 million in 2022-23 and $42.8 million in 2023-24. Its incentive to extend Irving now — and pay him $29.9 million in 2022-23 — is obvious. Irving would be, though, and I’d actually be worried if he was open to it. That would indicate that he was concerned about his knee holding up next season.
Green is eligible for a three-year, $71.7 million extension that would start in the 2020-21 season. If he wins Defensive Player of the Year or makes an All-NBA team next season, though, he could sign a super-max deal. That would be worth about $230 million over five years, a price tag that might even be too rich for the Golden State Warriors.
If Green is not eligible for a super-max contract, then the Warriors could could sign him to a five-year, $197.3 million deal as a 30-year-old in the summer of 2020. Other teams will be able to offer him four years and $146.3 million. Even if you are pessimistic about how Green’s game will age, even if you believe he’ll end up signing for less than the max, it is hard to argue that he should accept an extension that will pay him $25.8 million in 2022-23 when he could have a starting salary of $34 million on his next contract if he waits.
The numbers for Thompson are similar. If he makes All-NBA next season, he will be eligible for a five-year, $219 million super-max contract in Golden State in the summer of 2019. If he doesn’t, the organization could offer him a five-year, $188 million deal and competitors could offer him four years and $139.3 million. Even if he’d like to commit to the organization this summer, the most an extension can be worth is $102 million over four years.
Warriors owner Joe Lacob told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne that “we’re going to try to sign Klay and Draymond to extensions this summer,” adding that “maybe they want to wait until free agency.” Lacob knows as well as anyone that, while locking the two All-Stars into long-term deals would represent a significant financial commitment, it would actually be a massive financial win for management. I’d love to hear the pitch he gives Green and Thompson and their agents on this one.