Eric P. Mull-US PRESSWIRE
In the 2011 NBA Draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers officially began moving on from the LeBron James era, drafting Kyrie Irving from Duke University and Tristan Thompson from the University of Texas. Today, the Cavaliers gave each player a vote of confidence, picking up the team option on each player for the 2013-2014 season.
The decision to exercise these options was, for General Manager Chris Grant, a no-brainer. Rookie contracts are incredibly cost-effective. In 2012-2013, Kyrie Irving will make $5,530,080 and Tristan Thompson will bring home $4,006,080. In 2013-2014 each gets a raise, with Irving making $5,915,880, and Thompson at $4,285,660. From Cavs.com:
"Kyrie and Tristan exemplify what we want to be as a team and franchise, both as players and as people," said Cavaliers General Manager Chris Grant. "They are dedicated, hard-working, talented individuals and we’re looking forward to their continued growth and success here in Cleveland as Cavaliers."
The reigning Rookie of the Year, Irving, appeared in 51 games (all starts) in 2011-12, averaging 18.5 points on .469 shooting, 3.7 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 1.1 steals in 30.5 minutes per game.
Thompson played in 60 games (25 starts) and averaged 8.2 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.0 block in 23.7 minutes per game on his way to being named to the All-Rookie Second Team.
Following their third NBA seasons, the Cavaliers, and Kyrie Irving, will have much more interesting decisions to make, as each will be eligible to sign long-term extensions. The Cavaliers could theoretically offer Irving a 5 year max level contract, guaranteeing that Irving would spend his first 8 NBA seasons in the Wine and Gold. Irving would of course be able to decline the guaranteed money, but the Cavaliers would still have another option on Irving, as well as the right to match any offer from another team Irving would be able to sign with as a restricted free agent before the 2015-2016 season.
The Cavaliers will have a more complicated decision with Thompson. The Cavs could decide to offer him an extension, or simply wait for him to become a restricted free agent as see what the market bears for him in the summer of 2015. Barring a trade, however, both Irving and Thompson will be suiting up with Cleveland for years to come.