LeBron James' Return To Cleveland May Inadvertently Kick In A $9.5 Million Bonus For Kyrie Irving

Kyrie Irving, LeBron James, and Kevin LoveJason Miller/Getty ImagesKyrie Irving had a really good summer.

Kyrie Irving had a good summer.

The big news was that Irving went from the lone star on a mediocre team to suddenly being teammates with LeBron James and Kevin Love and becoming the third wheel of the NBA’s newest Big 3.

However, flying a bit under the radar was the news that Irving also signed a max-contract extension with the Cavs announced the day before James told the world he was going home to the Cavs.

That 5-year deal will be worth about $US95 million. But thanks to the presence of James and a bonus in Irving’s contract, that deal may end up being worth about $US9.5 million more.

Irving and “The Derrick Rose Rule”

As a max-contract player with less than seven years of experience, NBA rules say Irving’s salary will be 25% of the salary cap in the first year of the extension (2015-16). Each year after that, Irving would receive a raise equal to 7.5% of the salary in the first year.

Irving also has a provision in his contract known as the “Derrick Rose Rule,” given to young players with max contracts. This provision allows the salary in the first year of the new contract to be up to 30% of the salary cap (27.5% in Irving’s case) if the player meets a certain set of criteria.

This is where LeBron helps out

One of those criteria that would allow the Derrick Rose bonus to kick in is if the player is named the starter in All-Star game two times before the new contract starts (other criteria are winning an MVP award and being named All-NBA twice).

Irving, along with Dwyane Wade, was voted as one of the two starting guards for the 2014 All-Star game. But with Derrick Rose, ironically, returning from injury this year, it seemed unlikely that Irving would repeat as a starter and the Rose Rule would not kick in.

However, with the popularity of the Cavs this season, Irving’s own popularity will also be boosted. As Zach Lowe of Grantland points out, even if Rose is voted a starter, there is a good chance Irving will actually surpass Wade this season and still be voted in.

The impact of starting in the All-Star game will be huge

If Irving is voted in as a starter for the 2015 All-Star game, and using a projected 2015-16 salary cap of $US63.3 million, Irving’s 2015-16 salary would jump from $US16.6 million to $US18.2 million.

That is significant because the salary in the next four seasons is based on that first year.

Overall, Irving’s earnings under the new contract would increase $US9.5 million and it would all be due to just one All-Star vote that will be heavily influenced by the presence of LeBron.

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