Cleveland Cavaliers

Mo Williams Considering Retirement

Veteran Cavs guard Mo Williams is strongly considering hanging up his sneakers and retiring from the game, Joe Vardon of The Northeast Ohio Media Group reports. Williams’ balky knee, his desire to coach and the opportunity to go out as an NBA champion are weighing heavily upon him, Vardon adds.

There is also the chance, should Williams hold off on making a definitive decision regarding his future, that the Cavs could seek to trade him in a salary dump or waive him via the stretch provision, Vardon notes. The deadline to utilize the stretch provision is this Wednesday (August 31st), should the Cavs decide to go that route. Cleveland’s projected payroll for 2016/17 currently stands at $116,494,181, which is already over the luxury tax line which has been set at $113.2MM by the league. Williams is due to earn $2,194,500 this season, the final one on his current deal.

For Cleveland, purging itself of Williams’ salary would help alleviate some of its luxury tax burden this season, but it would also leave the team with rookie Kay Felder as the only true point guard on the roster behind starter Kyrie Irving. The Cavs still may re-sign unrestricted free agent shooting guard J.R. Smith, which would thrust the team deeper into tax territory. Not to mention the Cavs will still likely need to add additional backcourt depth should Williams be released or traded, which would increase their payroll and tax hit even further.

The 33-year-old appeared in 41 regular season games for the Cavs a season ago, averaging 8.2 points, 1.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 18.2 minutes per outing. His shooting line on the campaign was .437/.353/.905.  Williams’ career numbers, should he decide to call it quits, are 13.2 PPG, 2.8 RPG and 4.9 APG. His career slash line is .434/.378/.871.

Details On Cash Used In 2016 Draft Trades

As our list of 2016 offseason trades shows, five of the deals agreed upon on draft night this year featured one team sending cash to the other. The NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement allows clubs to include cash payments, but only up to a certain amount.

In the 2016/17 league year, teams are allowed to receive a total of $3.5MM in trades, and can also send out $3.5MM in trades. Those limits are separate, so a team that sends $3.5MM in a deal and then later receives $3.5MM doesn’t get a fresh, new slate — that club is capped out for the league year. In 2014/15, the limit for cash sent and received in trades was $3.4MM.

Since the league year ends on June 30, teams that hadn’t taken advantage of those cash allowances earlier in the season will often use remaining cash during the draft to move up or to snag an extra pick. Many of the cash details on those draft-day deals for 2016 were previously reported. For instance, we already knew about the following payments:

  • Warriors sent $2.4MM to Bucks to acquire No. 38 overall pick (Patrick McCaw).
  • Trail Blazers sent $1.2MM (and a 2019 second-round pick) to Magic to acquire No. 47 overall pick (Jake Layman).
  • Cavaliers sent approximately $2.5MM to Hawks to acquire No. 54 overall pick (Kay Felder).

Based on those numbers, it appears the Warriors got a much better deal from the Bucks than the Cavaliers did from the Hawks. Of course, if the Cavs badly wanted Felder, the cost to move into the draft was hardly exorbitant — Atlanta likely asked the Cavs for the maximum amount of money they could send, since Cleveland used over $900K in a separate trade earlier in the year.

In addition to those three swaps, two other draft-night deals featured money changing hands, and Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders has the details on those payments, along with several others from the 2015/16 league year. According to Pincus, these are the details on the other two draft trades involving cash:

Once again, one of these deals looks far more favorable than the other, with the Thunder paying a fraction of what the Nets did for a second-round pick. But again, the available players and interested teams essentially set the market for these cash payments.

In the case of the Nets/Jazz deal, Brooklyn clearly wanted to make sure not to miss out on Whitehead, and the team was willing to pay a relatively significant amount to secure him. The Thunder, meanwhile, offered all their available remaining cash to the Nuggets for the 56th pick, and Denver likely had no better offer and no player targeted at that spot — so the Nuggets took what they could get.

Be sure to check out Pincus’ piece at Basketball Insiders for more thorough details of how teams spent and received cash in trades during the 2015/16 league year.

Jason Terry Talks Free Agency Process

Veteran guard Jason Terry recently inked a one-year contract with the Bucks, and while it’s only a minimum-salary deal, it’s fully guaranteed, which is something of a rarity at this point in the NBA offseason. In an interview on SiriusXM NBA Radio (SoundCloud link), Terry admitted that the free agency process can be tough at this late stage in his career (he’ll turn 39 next month). He also identified several of the teams he considered before landing in Milwaukee.

“I had a couple contenders that I was really seriously looking at. Two of them were in the Finals, so that tells you right there who they were,” Terry said, referring to the Cavaliers and Warriors. “I made a call to [Gregg Popovich]. San Antonio’s another one. They were my arch-enemy for eight years when I was in Dallas, but that’s another phone call — if they call, you pick up, there’s just no question about it. … I always thought about going back and trying to finish off where I started in Atlanta. I like what they did. And then I seriously considered Boston, though we did not have a conversation.”

Based on Terry’s comments, it’s not clear how many of those teams he reached out to, and how many reached out to him, so it’s possible that interest wasn’t mutual in all those scenarios. Terry also admitted that while he had some interest in the Lakers, that interest wasn’t reciprocated, since Los Angeles already had a good idea of what its 15-man roster would look like.

“I called my good friend Luke [Walton],” Terry said. “I told him if he needed any help — veteran leadership, in that capacity, with an ability to coach at the end of my deal, then that was something I would be looking forward to. He utterly declined, and I respect him for that.”

Although he’s not the scorer he was early in his career, Terry was still a solid contributor in Houston over the last two seasons, averaging 19.5 MPG in 149 regular-season contests, and averaging 6.5 PPG, 1.7 APG, and 0.8 SPG while shooting 37.5% on three-pointers. In both of his seasons with the Rockets, Terry received a bump in playing time during the postseason.

Kevin Love Not Currently A Trade Candidate

A handful of big-name players, including Jimmy Butler, Paul Millsap, and Blake Griffin, have been mentioned in trade rumors at some point this summer, but those guys almost certainly aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, writes Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders. In addition to Butler, Millsap, and Griffin, stars like DeMarcus Cousins, Russell Westbrook, and Kevin Love are staying put with their current teams, despite being the subjects of frequent trade speculation.

While the gist of Kyler’s tidbits on each of those six players is the same – they’re not being traded unless things change drastically for the team or player – each situation is a little different, so let’s round up some of Kyler’s latest info on those stars…

  • The Kings and Cousins have agreed to take a “fresh-start approach” to their union, according to Kyler, who notes that the big man likes the hiring of coach Dave Joerger. While Cousins’ potential 2018 free agency will be a factor down the road, Sacramento is turning away incoming inquiries and will likely play out the 2016/17 season with Cousins as the team’s cornerstorne before considering any franchise-altering decisions.
  • Like the Kings with Cousins, the Thunder would have to play extremely poorly in the first half for the team to consider any major in-season change involving Westbrook. Sources tell Kyler that there is almost no scenario in which Oklahoma City explores moving the star point guard during the season, though the team will of course be keeping a close eye on how its roster looks in the post-Kevin Durant era.
  • Per Kyler, sources close to Griffin “have been adamant” that he intends to re-sign with the Clippers once his current contract is up — that could happen next summer, since the star forward has an early termination option. Doc Rivers is confident Griffin will remain in Los Angeles for the long term and has no interest in engaging in trade talks, says Kyler.
  • The Hawks seriously explored a Millsap trade in July, but those talks came to an end after the team lost Al Horford. Sources tell Kyler that Millsap has been assured he won’t be dealt anytime soon, though the veteran’s potential 2017 free agency looms as a possible concern if Atlanta struggles out of the gate.

Money The Issue Between Smith, Cavs

Money is the only sticking point in negotiations between J.R. Smith and the Cavaliers, writes Sam Amico of Amicohoops.net. Smith wants to stay in Cleveland where he is comfortable with coach Tyronn Lue and was an important contributor to the Cavs’ championship run. The organization is happy with Smith’s clutch shooting and improved defense. However, the two sides appear to be far apart on salary, and it’s not certain that the situation will be resolved before the Cavaliers open training camp September 26th. Smith, who turns 31 next month, made $5MM last season. He has reportedly seen his bargaining power weakened by a lack of interest from other teams.

Smith Isn't Close To Deal

  • Free agent J.R. Smith doesn’t appear to be close to signing a contract, according to Chris Fedor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The Cavs’ shooting guard is deferring all questions about his free agency to agent Rich Paul. Smith is expected to rejoin Cleveland and is believed to be seeking a multi-year deal worth approximately $15MM per season, Fedor continues. There’s been little interest from other teams because of Smith’s past antics, Fedor adds.

Cavaliers To Re-Sign LeBron James

NBA: Playoffs-Golden State Warriors at Cleveland Cavaliers4:40pm: The third year is a player option, Chris Broussard of ESPN.com relays (on Twitter).

4:26pm: The last major free agent has finally come off the board, with the Cavaliers and LeBron James reaching an agreement on a new deal, Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com reports (via Twitter). According to the scribe it will be a three-year, $100MM arrangement. There is no indication yet if the deal includes any options, be it player or team.

The agreement will see James become the highest paid player in the league for the first time in his career, with the veteran set to earn approximately $31MM this coming season, Windhorst notes. The deal will pay him in excess of $33MM in 2017/18, which would be the highest single-season contract in league history, per the ESPN scribe.

There was little intrigue this offseason regarding James making his return to Cleveland, despite the superstar remaining unsigned until now. With the Cavs securing the NBA title this past season, it was merely a matter of when James would sign, not if.

James appeared in 76 games this past campaign, averaging 25.3 points, 7.4 rebounds and 6.8 assists in 35.6 minutes per outing while shooting .520/.309/.731 from the field. The 31-year-old was equally impressive in the postseason, logging 26.3 PPG, 9.5 RPG and 7.6 APG in 21 contests.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Frye Talks Cavs Title, Chemistry

Channing Frye penned a piece for the Player’s Tribune discussing his Finals run with the Cavs this past season, as well as his previous path throughout the league. Regarding the joy he felt upon joining Cleveland, Frye wrote, “When I got traded to the Cavs in February, I knew it was going to be special. I almost cried on the plane because I was getting the chance every player wants — a shot at the title. From the jump, I told myself that I was not gonna waste a day. I was not going to waste a moment. I was going to enjoy everything.

Reflecting on his contributions to the Cavs’ culture, Frye relayed, “We’re one of the closest teams I’ve ever been on. We have text chains about all types of stuff. Everybody’s always talking [expletive] to each other, except we don’t really say too much to LeBron James. Sometimes I’ll say like, Bron, you weak. You only got 40? Then he’ll go out and try to drop 50.”

Latest On J.R. Smith

  • J.R. Smith remains a free agent, and while his return to Cleveland isn’t a lock like it is for LeBron James, there’s still a belief on both sides that Smith and the Cavaliers will eventually reach an agreement. According to Kyler, there’s a belief that Cleveland put an offer in the $10MM-per-year range on the table a few weeks ago — Smith and his camp are waiting to see if a bigger offer comes in, but will likely end up getting something done with the Cavs.
  • Cavaliers sources have pointed out to Kyler that if and when James and Smith sign new deals, the club figures to be in luxury-tax territory. That would make trades a little trickier to complete, so the Cavs may simply be exploring all their options on that front before locking in new contracts for James and Smith.

    [SOURCE LINK]
  • J.R. Smith remains a free agent, and while his return to Cleveland isn’t a lock like it is for LeBron James, there’s still a belief on both sides that Smith and the Cavaliers will eventually reach an agreement. According to Kyler, there’s a belief that Cleveland put an offer in the $10MM-per-year range on the table a few weeks ago — Smith and his camp are waiting to see if a bigger offer comes in, but will likely end up getting something done with the Cavs.
  • Cavaliers sources have pointed out to Kyler that if and when James and Smith sign new deals, the club figures to be in luxury-tax territory. That would make trades a little trickier to complete, so the Cavs may simply be exploring all their options on that front before locking in new contracts for James and Smith.

Contract Details For Felder, Liggins

  • DeAndre Ligginstwo-year deal with the Cavaliers includes a partial guarantee of $25K for 2016/17 and the second year is a team option, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders relays (via Twitter).
  • The first season of Kay Felder‘s three-year pact with the Cavs is fully guaranteed, Pincus tweets. The scribe also notes that $456,529 of his $905,249 salary for 2017/18 is guaranteed.

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