Official Cleveland Cavaliers offseason thread

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kdawg

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A good summary of the Cavs situation 23phorlife posted:

There are a few posts up right now about the Cavs offseason (things about LeBron and Love opting out, the Cavs wanting to keep Thompson, etc) and in the comments I see a lot of the same questions coming up and either not being answered or receiving wrong answers. Instead of making 40 replies, I thought it would be worth it to do a "Cavs Offseason FAQ" because they do have a lot of things to deal with.
1. Why is LeBron opting out of his contract?

LeBron can get a slight raise by opting out. His current contract has a 4.5% raise but by opting out he can re-sign for the max and, because the salary cap is increasing by more than 4.5%, that's more money.
By opting out he can sign a new contract with a second year option. That option year is insurance against a career ending injury.
If you want to believe that LeBron's primary concern is exerting control over the team, I guess being a free agent gives him some additional leverage but I think he had enough control already to doubt that this matters.
From the moment he signed the contract, the only things that would have stopped him from opting out were catastrophic injury or an unexpected drop in the salary cap.
2. The Cavs don't have LeBron's Bird Rights, right? Does this cause problems?

Short answer: They do not have his Full Bird Rights but it does not cause any problems for the Cavs.
Long answer: The Cavs do not have LeBron's full Bird Rights but they have something called "Non-Bird Rights." There are three types of "rights" under the umbrella of veteran free agent exceptions:
A free agent who has not cleared waivers or voluntarily changed teams in over two seasons carries "Bird Rights"
A free agent who has not cleared waivers or voluntarily changed teams in more than one but at most two seasons carries the pun-tastic "Early Bird Rights"
A free agent who has not cleared waivers or voluntarily changed teams in one season or less has "Non-Bird Rights"
Each class of rights allows the team to exceed the salary cap to sign the player for a different amount. Bird Rights can go to the player's maximum salary, Early Bird can go to 175% of their previous salary, Non-Bird can go to 120% of their previous salary.
Most players on Non-Bird Rights are small salary guys where that 120% might matter. An example of where it does is Josh Smith with Houston. For LeBron, 120% of last year's max is more than next year's max, so the fact that he is on Non-Bird instead of Early or Full Bird does not matter.
3. What's going on with Tristan Thompson?

The Cavs will extend Thompson a qualifying offer making him a restricted free agent. Thompson is a weird case because of his close ties to LeBron and Rich Paul. Under normal circumstances I would say that he's not worth what he wants to be paid or, at the very least, they should force him to go get an offer from someone else that they can then just match so they don't pay over-market. Worst case scenario would be that he accepts the qualifying offer like Greg Monroe, but Tristan Thompson is not the level of player that you normally bend your franchise to accommodate.
It seems like that his being with LeBron/Paul means that he's going to get more than the 4/$52M extension that he turned down. David Griffin has says that they're going to keep him, so I guess we pencil him in for making around his max of ~$15.7M next season.
4. What's going on with Kevin Love?

If Love opts out, which Griffin said he expects, then he will be an unrestricted free agent. The Cavs have his Bird Rights so they can pay him slightly more than other teams, but the normal advantage of being able to offer a longer contract probably doesn't matter as Love is going to want to sign either a 2+1 (two guaranteed years plus a player option) with someone else or a 1+1 (like Lebron) with the Cavs.
No matter where Love ends up he'll make his maximum salary of ~$18.8M next season.
5. What's going on with Iman Shumpert?

The Cavs will extend him a qualifying offer making him a restricted free agent. He's potentially a difficult piece for the Cavs to replace so he has some leverage over them, but he's restricted so they could always wait him out and match if anyone else jumps in with a bid.
I have no real feel for his market and the RFA market in general is unpredictable.
6. What's going on with JR Smith?

He's expected to opt out of his $6.4M player option and become an unrestricted free agent. If he opts out it means he wants more than that. Zach Lowe has suggested he could get as much as $10M/year even while saying he's probably not worth that.
7. What's going on with Matthew Dellavedova?

At the moment, Delly is probably wishing he turned his ankle at the end of Game 3 and got to ride that high into free agency instead of being exposed in games 4-6. After Game 3 people were speculating that he might have made himself a few million dollars. It's hard to see that now.
The Cavs will extend him a qualifying offer since it's so low which will make him restricted. No other team is going nuts to sign Delly.
8. Can anything be done about Anderson Varejao?

The Varejao extension was stupid at the time and looks worse now. If the Cavs have any kind of budget his deal may force them to make the decision to lose one of the players above.
LeBron seems to love him and he has too many years and dollars to waive and stretch. It would cost too much to trade his contract away at this point. They're probably stuck with him and left hoping he gets healthy but even if he is I'm not sure where he fits in a team with Mozgov, Thompson, Love and LeBron.
9. Mike Miller?

Would you walk away from $2.85M to fly around the country and watch basketball for one more year? I've seen people say that he's going to retire but players usually retire when they're not guaranteed a paycheck any more. He wouldn't be the first person to leave money on the table but it seems like he'll retire in 2016, not 2015. It would save millions to waive/stretch him and then just let him fly around with the team. Maybe don't tell LeBron, we know how much losing Mike Miller can piss him off.
10. What can the Cavs do with Brendan Haywood?

Haywood has a $10.5M non-guaranteed contract. The Cavs can either waive this themselves and save a bunch of money, or trade him to a team looking to cut their own salary.
If they choose to trade him it will be someone else's salary dump (the Cavs don't have lots of young cheap assets that could bring back value on their own and need a contract match) so that means a medium-to-large guaranteed salary. The Cavs will be over the tax so the most they could take in return would be ~$13.2M in 2015-16 salary.
I believe Haywood's contract becomes guaranteed on August 1 so they need to find a use for him relatively quickly or waive him and use the financial relief themselves.
11. Is there anything stopping the Cavs from bringing everyone back?

No, the rights that they have for all their free agents are enough to bring everyone back if all the players agree.
12. Can the Cavs do anything else to add new players?

Yes, they have a first round draft pick plus will have access to the Taxpayer MLE. Every team can always sign players to minimum contracts as long as they have space on their roster. If Kevin Love (or really any of their free agents) decide to leave they could also work on a sign-and-trade with their new team. They can also trade Haywood as outlined above.
The one thing that Cavs cannot do is receive anyone in a sign-and-trade as it would hard cap them at a payroll they can't stay under without losing LeBron and other parts.
13. What about the luxury tax?

While there are no rules that explicitly stop the team from brining everyone back, the luxury tax payments would be very large. The luxury tax line is expected to be ~$81M next season. That means each dollar in salary above that will be taxed as follows:
Salary Band Low Salary Band High Tax Rate Band Maximum
$81M $86M 1.5x $7.5M
$86M $91M 1.75x $8.75M
$91M $96M 2.5x $12.5M
$96M $101M 3.25x $16.25M
$101M $106M 3.75x $18.75M
Each +$5M Prior+0.5x Prior+$2.5M
If the team brings everyone back at salaries in line with the rumors and sign their first round pick they have a payroll of ~$108M for twelve players. That carries a tax burden of ~$75M. If they trade Haywood to add another piece, use the MMLE, or add players via minimum salaries, the tax dollars increase at at least the 4.25-to-1 rate.
If, for example, they were to bring the team back but waive Haywood and use the MMLE and a minimum contract to fill out the roster to 14 players, their tax bill would increase from ~$75M to ~$96M so you can see how just filling the roster with below average players costs $25M in tax and salaries if the starting point is "bring everyone back."
14. What will they do?

I don't know. I have my own opinions on what they should do but the force that LeBron exerts is very difficult to judge. The easy answer is to say that they'll bring everyone back (assuming Love is willing), waive Haywood, use the MMLE to sign a back-up PG, and spend $210M. That's more than any team ever has ever spent but if Dan Gilbert is willing then that's his prerogative.
15. How much time do they have to figure all this out?

Some time. Their main problems are:
Convincing Love to stay
Deciding what to do about Thompson, JR, Shumpert, and Delly
Deciding what to do about Brendan Haywood
Deciding how much they can pay in tax
The first three things will be resolved in July because that's how free agency works. However, the luxury tax is calculated on the final day of the season. The team could extend their payroll to $115M with a $110M tax bill looming but then take part of the season to decide who is expendable and pare it back at the trade deadline. Similarly they could let some players who they feel are being overpaid leave now and then maybe use the player they draft at 24 to add a part later.
If you want to play with the exact numbers the Cavs are one of the teams currently in my 2015-16 salary cap tool at roster-builder.com but all you'd really be doing is figuring out luxury tax payments.
EDIT: This post is getting some attention so here's a bonus prediction: The Cavs will trade Brendan Haywood into someone else's (Sixers) cap space. That team will waive Haywood and receive a 2nd round pick for their troubles. That will create a TPE for the Cavs that they can hold onto and use beyond Haywood's guarantee deadline and will not impact their tax position.
 
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jpzx

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Jalen Rose said on he and Jacoby's podcast that Blatt's done. "This will be his ONLY... season." (after they had lost the Finals 4-2)
 

jpzx

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Why would he do it with CLE in that scenario, though? I think he'd find it more useful to go elsewhere where he's actually considering getting a big deal from in a year or two, use the one or two-year deal as a trial run with them, and then go from there.


Chris Haynes @ChrisBHaynes 1m
LeBron James won't be re-recruiting Kevin Love, I'm told. He believes Love understands he can be a part of something special. It's his call.
 
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K Love and Bron both signing 1 year deals, If K Love Leaves, we got played, but we'll just have to make it up somewhere else.
 
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If for some reason Blatt was let go or left I would assume that Lue would just take over as coach.

They would stay within the organization.
 

kdawg

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Welcome to Cleveland Cedi Osman, Rakeem Christmas and Sir’Dominic Pointer.
 

jpzx

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If for some reason Blatt was let go or left I would assume that Lue would just take over as coach.

They would stay within the organization.
Yeah he said Lue would be like Kerr (Lue has exp in at least some form of NBA coaching - and on a pretty high level now that the Cavs made a run to the Finals - so that's a dumb comparison I think)
 
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FWIW .....


Sam Amico
‏@AmicoBasketball
Kevin Love has indicated to Cavs recently he plans to return. Cavs also hope to execute Brendan Haywood contract trade quickly after July 1.
 

kdawg

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Yeah Haywood was really only signed for this year's contract trade value!
 
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