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Cleveland Cavaliers

Teams With Flexibility For Waiver Claims

Waiver claims aren’t particularly common in the NBA. During the 2015/16 league year, for instance, only seven players were claimed off waivers. However, October is one time when things are a little more active on waivers, as teams cut camp invitees from their rosters and other clubs have a chance to snatch up a potentially appealing contract without having to negotiate with the player. Three of 2015/16’s seven waiver claims occurred in October, and this year we’ve already seen one played claimed, as the Pistons nabbed Beno Udrih after he was cut by the Heat.

Not every team can claim any waived player. In fact, there are only a few instances when teams can claim a player who is earning more than the minimum salary. A club must either have enough cap room to accommodate the player’s salary, or a trade exception (or disabled player exception) large enough to fit the player’s salary.

For a team like the Pistons then, the only reason they were able to claim Udrih was because he was on a minimum salary contract. Teams can use the minimum salary exception to claim a player who is on a one- or two-year minimum salary contract. But if Udrih had been making $2MM, Detroit wouldn’t have been able to submit a claim.

With that in mind, here’s the list of teams able to afford to claim a player making more than the minimum:

Teams with cap room:

  • Philadelphia 76ers
  • Denver Nuggets
  • Brooklyn Nets
  • Utah Jazz
  • Phoenix Suns
  • Minnesota Timberwolves
  • Indiana Pacers
  • Note: The Lakers are also under the cap, but only by about $530K, which is less than the minimum salary.

Teams with traded player exceptions:

  • Cleveland Cavaliers ($9,638,554 and three other TPEs)
  • Milwaukee Bucks ($1,733,880 and one other TPE)
  • Charlotte Hornets ($1,666,470)
  • Los Angeles Clippers: ($1,209,600)

For a player like R.J. Hunter, who is currently on waivers with a salary worth about $1.2MM, the 11 teams listed above are the only ones that can currently place a claim. The rest of the NBA’s teams could submit a claim for a minimum-salary player, but don’t have the cap room or cap exception necessary to accommodate, for instance, Archie Goodwin‘s $2MM+ salary. Neither do the Bucks, Hornets, and Clippers, whose trade exceptions are too small.

[RELATED: Players with fully guaranteed salaries who were cut]

When taking into account which teams might place a claim on a waiver player, it’s also worth noting that waiver priority is determined by record — the worst teams get first dibs on each waived player. Since the 2016/17 regular season hasn’t started yet, waiver order is currently determined by last year’s record. That will change on December 1, at which point this year’s standings will determine the order.

For now, that means the waiver priority order for the 11 teams listed above looks like this:

  1. Philadelphia 76ers (10-72)
  2. Brooklyn Nets (21-61)
  3. Phoenix Suns (23-59)
  4. Minnesota Timberwolves (29-53)
  5. Milwaukee Bucks / Denver Nuggets (33-49)
    • (Coin flip determines priority)
  6. Utah Jazz (40-42)
  7. Indiana Pacers (45-37)
  8. Charlotte Hornets (48-34)
  9. Los Angeles Clippers (53-29)
  10. Cleveland Cavaliers (57-25)

So if the Sixers and Nets both had interest in Goodwin and submitted claims, Brooklyn would be out of luck, since Philadelphia is the only team with a higher waiver priority. For minimum salary claims, the rest of the league’s 30 teams would slot into that waiver order based on last year’s record. In the full waiver order, the Pistons would have the 19th priority, meaning the 18 teams ahead of them didn’t make a claim for Udrih.

As noted above, waiver claims aren’t particularly common, but it’s possible we’ll see a couple more waiver moves this week, so the rules above are worth keeping in mind.

Cavs Waive Dahntay Jones

The Cavs have officially waived forward Dahntay Jones, the team announced. The veteran’s deal included no guaranteed salary, so Cleveland won’t be on the hook for any funds as a result of the move.

Jones, 35, has career averages of 5.4 points, 1.7 rebounds and 0.8 assists in 623regular season contests. His slash line is .439/.331/.751.

This reduces the team’s roster count to 15 players, which is the regular season maximum. It also means that DeAndre Liggins has made the team.

And-Ones: Roster Moves, Bulls, Rudez, Onuaku

Monday afternoon is the deadline to reach the roster limit of 15, and nine teams still have cuts to make, tweets salary cap expert Albert Nahmad. The Celtics, Cavaliers, Rockets, Lakers, Pelicans, Thunder, Sixers, Suns and Kings all remain over the limit leading into what should be an eventful day, says Nahmad. By our count, the Grizzlies still have a move to make as well. The Pacers were the latest team to trim their roster, waiving Jeremy Evans and Julyan Stone tonight.

There’s more news from around the NBA:

  • J.J. Avila, who was waived Friday by the Bulls, has agreed to play for Chicago’s D-League affiliate, tweets Dennis Silva II of Monitor News. The 6’8″ power forward from Colorado State signed a training camp contract with Chicago in September. Guard Thomas Walkup of Stephen F. Austin, another Friday cut, will also be joining the Windy City Bulls (Twitter link).
  • Damjan Rudez and Arinze Onuaku both traveled a lot of miles to realize their dream of returning to the NBA, writes John Denton of After playing overseas and in the D-League, both veterans were told Saturday that they had earned a place on the Magic’s final roster. “It was a big blessing,” Onuaka said. “When you are out here fighting for a spot every day it’s stressful and to get that news, it was great. You’ve always got to wait to hear if you’re in or you’re out, so it wasn’t easy sleeping at night.’’
  • Fred VanVleet won the Raptors‘ final roster spot, but coach Dwane Casey said all the training camp invitees were impressive, tweets Ryan Wolstat of The Toronto Sun. Casey said Drew Crawford and Brady Heslip have the talent to be NBA players, adding that he was disappointed he didn’t have room to keep all of them.

Cavs Waive John Holland

The Cavs have waived John Holland, according to Dave McMenamin of (Twitter link). The move will bring their roster count to 16 and Cleveland has until Monday to waive one more player.

Cleveland signed Holland last month, though he was never expected to make the team. The small forward’s only NBA experience came during last season’s playoffs with the Celtics, where he saw only one minute of action. During that game, he took one shot–a 3-pointer–which he missed.

Holland spent four years at Boston University and he wasn’t selected in the 2011 draft. He went overseas following college, playing for four teams in three different countries from 2011 until 2015 . Cavs A Fit For Mario Chalmers

  • Several scribes – including David Aldridge, Scott Howard-Cooper, Fran Blinebury, and others – gave their two cents on the best fit for point guard Mario Chalmers, with the Cavaliers getting the most votes. The Clippers and Kings were also mentioned as potential suitors that would make sense for Chalmers, who is still recovering from an Achilles injury.
  • Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders provides some housekeeping details on a few offseason trades, reporting that the Clippers paid the Magic $230K in their C.J. Wilcox trade, the Jazz paid the Sixers $1.6MM in their Tibor Pleiss deal, and the Cavaliers paid the Sixers $1.8MM in their Sasha Kaun swap (all Twitter links).

Cavs Looking To Trade For Backup Point Guard

OCTOBER 21, 12:32pm: The Cavs are at an impasse with Williams and are trying to attach his contract to McRae in a trade in order to reduce their tax penalties, writes Brian Windhorst of Windhorst also confirms that the Cavs were essentially showcasing McRae during the preseason.

OCTOBER 20, 3:31pm: After waiving Toney Douglas last week, the Cavaliers remain in the market for a veteran point guard to back up Kyrie Irving and complement rookie Kay Felder, reports Joe Vardon of According to Vardon, the Cavs have engaged in “advanced discussions” with at least one team and hope to make a deal before the start of the regular season next week.

[RELATED: Wolves, others have inquired on Iman Shumpert]

While Vardon doesn’t offer specifics on the Cavs’ negotiations, he points to a couple players who could be moved in potential deals. Jordan McRae had a strong preseason, but doesn’t have a clear role in the Cavs’ rotation, and could appeal to trade partners. Additionally, Mo Williams intends to retire, but hasn’t formally filed his papers and remains on Cleveland’s books — his contract could be used to help match salaries.

According to Vardon, the Cavs have explored the free agent market for a potential solution at the point, participating in contract discussions with Norris Cole, Mario Chalmers, and Kirk Hinrich. However, Cole signed a deal with a team in China, and Cleveland doesn’t believe Chalmers will be fully health until the new year.

If the Cavaliers do make a trade, they could put one or more of their traded player exceptions to use. Cleveland is one of just four NBA teams to currently hold a TPE, and their biggest exception is worth $9,638,554, which would accommodate a majority of the contracts around the league. Still, as Bobby Marks of The Vertical notes in a piece about waiver claims, the club will have to be careful about adding too much extra salary. Based on their current position in the tax, the Cavs would be penalized $3.25MM for every $1MM they add to their 2016/17 salary total.

Wolves, Others Have Inquired On Iman Shumpert

Several teams, including the Timberwolves, have inquired on the availability of Iman Shumpert in recent weeks, ESPN’s Zach Lowe writes in his latest piece previewing the upcoming NBA season. Those teams have gotten the impression that the Cavaliers are willing to discuss Shumpert, though they won’t simply dump his salary for nothing, says Lowe.

There are a few reasons why it could make sense for the Cavs to consider moving Shumpert. For one, after re-signing J.R. Smith, the Cavs are fairly deep on the wing, with Smith, Shumpert, Mike Dunleavy, Richard Jefferson, and James Jones among the players who could see regular minutes at the two or three. That list doesn’t even include LeBron James, who figures to occasionally play some small forward, or Jordan McRae, who has led the team in preseason scoring.

Additionally, the Cavs are well into tax territory now, so removing Shumpert’s $9,662,922 salary from their books would reduce their eventual tax bill significantly. The ex-Knick’s deal runs through at least 2018, with a player option for 2018/19, so moving it off the books could create a little more future flexibility as well.

The Cavaliers have reportedly been on the hunt for a backup point guard via trade, and while McRae and Mo Williams were among the players mentioned as trade candidates in that report, Shumpert’s salary is significantly larger. Trading him would allow Cleveland to take on more salary in return, increasing their number of options.

The Timberwolves also represent an interesting potential trade partner for the Cavs, since both Ricky Rubio and Tyus Jones have been the subject of trade rumors this offseason. The Wolves like both players, but fifth overall pick Kris Dunn is viewed as the point guard of the future in Minnesota. It’s also worth noting that the Wolves are well below the salary cap, and could easily accommodate Shumpert’s salary.

[RELATED: Several teams interested in Tyus Jones]

Still, this is mostly speculation. While it’s possible the Cavs decide to move Shumpert, it would be a little surprising to see the team shake up its rotation significantly this close to the start of the regular season. As Lowe notes, Cleveland would have to get real value in return, rather than just dumping Shumpert’s contract.

Cavs Waive Markel Brown, Cory Jefferson, Jonathan Holmes

The Cavaliers have cut down the numbers of players on their roster from 20 to 17, according to Dave McMenamin of, who reports (via Twitter) that the team has waived shooting guard Markel Brown, power forward Cory Jefferson, and power forward Jonathan Holmes. The Cavs confirmed the moves in a press release.

Brown, Jefferson, and Holmes each signed a one-year summer contract with the Cavaliers heading into training camp this year, with none of the three players receiving any guaranteed money from the team. Cleveland only has 13 guaranteed salaries on its books for 2016/17, so there’s a roster spot or two available for a player without a fully guaranteed deal, but it was always going to be an uphill battle for Brown, Jefferson, or Holmes to make the cut.

While Holmes has never appeared in a regular season NBA game, Brown and Jefferson have seen some action over the last two seasons, and were teammates in Brooklyn in 2014/15. Brown is the slightly more accomplished player of the pair, having appeared in 109 games to Jefferson’s 58. Brown averaged 5.9 PPG, 2.0 RPG, and 1.5 APG in those games.

With at least two more cuts to make, the Cavs will be making decisions on players like John Holland, Jordan McRae, Dahntay Jones, and DeAndre Liggins within the next few days.

Here’s more out of Cleveland:

  • Within an interesting piece on Kevin Love, Lee Jenkins of writes that Cavs GM David Griffin told Love in February that he didn’t want to trade him, but would understand if the big man wanted to go somewhere where he could be the primary option again. According to Jenkins, Love replied, “I want to be a champion.”
  • James Jones, who re-signed with the Cavaliers this summer, tells Lang Greene of Basketball Insiders he’s focused on playing 15 years in the NBA, then retiring. Jones is currently entering his 14th season, so that plan would put him on track to call it a career in 2018.

J.R. Smith Contract Details

The details on J.R. Smith‘s new deal with the Cavaliers are now available, and as Bobby Marks of The Vertical outlines, Smith’s salaries don’t descend annually, as some previous reports suggested. Smith will earn $41.28MM in the first three years of his new contract, with an opportunity to earn a $15.68MM salary in year four. Currently, that fourth year is guaranteed for just $3.87MM, bringing the total guarantee to $45.15MM. For the 2016/17 season, Smith will be on Cleveland’s books for $12.8MM, taking the team deep into luxury-tax territory.

  • With Smith now locked up, the Cavaliers‘ next big free agent will be a player who signed a lucrative new multiyear deal this summer: LeBron James. As Joe Vardon of writes, James will be eligible to opt out in 2018, while Smith, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love can’t reach the open market until at least 2019.

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