Cleveland Cavaliers Rumors

Cavs, Anderson Varejao Close To Extension

October 30 at 4:20pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

The Cavaliers and Anderson Varejao are close to finalizing an agreement on a contract extension, Marc Stein of ESPN.com reports (Twitter link). The extension is believed to be for three years, and approximately $30MM, notes Stein. The October 31st deadline doesn’t apply to Varejao so the two sides aren’t working against the clock to get this done prior to 11pm tomorrow night.

This news doesn’t come as a surprise since it was reported earlier that both sides had a mutual interest in keeping Varejao in Cleveland for the foreseeable future. The 32-year-old center said recently that he wants to finish his career with the Cavs, and he has a close relationship with LeBron James, with whom he’d been teammates for six years before James took his talents to South Beach.

Varejao does have some incentive to wait until he he becomes a free agent to sign a new deal with the Cavs. He can only make 107.5% of this year’s nearly $9.705MM salary in the first season of an extension with the Cavs, and an extension could only run through the 2017/18 season. If Varejao waits to become a free agent, he could sign up to a five-year contract for nearly 35 percent of the salary cap, though he’s not a candidate for max money, nor a deal of that length. With his history of injuries and advancing age, signing an extension to stay in Cleveland and gaining some level of financial security has to be appealing for Varejao, not to mention playing for what is shaping up to be an annual contender.

This news also casts some doubt as to the future of Tristan Thompson in wine-and-gold. It was reported earlier this week that negotiations between Thompson and the team had stalled, and Thompson is subject to the October 31st deadline, or else he will become a restricted free agent next summer. Thompson is seeking a new deal in the $12MM per year range, which is a bit pricey for a backup center.

The Cavs have only about $21.5MM in commitments for 2015/16, but that doesn’t include James’ player option for $21,573,398 or Kevin Love‘s for $16,744,218. If Varejao indeed signs for approximately $10MM per year, that won’t leave the Cavs front office much flexibility to ink Thompson and continue to surround the core of James, Love, and Kyrie Irving with the role players needed to contend.

Latest On Cavs, Tristan Thompson

October 30 at 8:06am CDT By Chuck Myron

THURSDAY, 8:06am: A sense of optimism surrounds the talks at this point, sources tell Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal. Lloyd hears that Thompson is seeking annual salaries of more than $10MM, though that doesn’t necessarily mean he isn’t targeting the roughly $12MM number that Windhorst pegged in his report from earlier (below). Thompson and Anderson Varejao, who’s discussing a veteran extension with the Cavs, are likely to make about the same amount if they’re to sign extensions, and it doesn’t appear as though Varejao is willing to accept much less per year than his current salary of nearly $9.705MM, Lloyd writes.

MONDAY, 10:32am: Negotiations between the Cavs and Tristan Thompson have stalled as the Rich Paul client seeks salaries of around $12MM a year in a rookie scale extension, reports Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com. Still, both sides maintain hope that they’ll reach a deal by Friday’s deadline, Windhorst adds. The report adds some clarity to a series of conflicting dispatches regarding whether Thompson and Cleveland were in talks, as I laid out earlier in light of the news that the Cavs are discussing an extension with Anderson Varejao.

Executives and agents around the league are keeping an eye on the talks with Thompson to gauge how closely LeBron James is involved with Cleveland’s front office decision-making, as Windhorst details. James and Thompson are both clients of Paul, and James holds a player option for next season that he can decline to hit free agency this summer, which makes the team a “little uncomfortable,” Windhorst writes, even though James has said multiple times he has no intention of leaving. Thompson will start the season as a bench player after Varejao won the starting center job, and it would be difficult for many teams to stomach paying $12MM for a sixth man.

Still, agents are growing bolder with an influx of TV money on the way, and lucrative deals for Eric Bledsoe, Gordon Hayward and Chandler Parsons this summer have left many player representatives optimistic about the prospect of restricted free agency, according to Windhorst. Greg Monroe, who wound up signing a qualifying offer worth just $5.48MM for this season, is a cautionary tale, though he reportedly rejected much more lucrative proposals.

The Cavs have only about $21.5MM in commitments for 2015/16, but that doesn’t include money for James, Love or Varejao, all of whom can become free agents. Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters and second-round pick Joe Harris are the only Cavs under fully guaranteed contracts that contain no option clauses for that season.

Cavs, Anderson Varejao Discuss Extension

October 27 at 8:24am CDT By Chuck Myron

The Cavs are engaged in “serious” talks about an extension with Anderson Varejao, one of the few veterans eligible for one, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. There’s mutual interest, and the conversations between the team and the Dan Fegan client have taken place over the past few weeks, though the sides aren’t on the verge of a deal yet, Wojnarowski writes. There’s no deadline looming at the end of the week as there is with rookie scale extension candidates like fellow Cav Tristan Thompson. Varejao and the Cavs have until June 30th to reach a deal on an extension before the Brazilian big man’s contract expires.

The Varejao talks are cast against the backdrop of the deadline regarding Thompson, and there are conflicting reports about whether Thompson and the Cavs are in talks. There is discussion and the Cavs hope to get a deal done, according to Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio, but Chris Haynes of Northeast Ohio Media Group wrote this weekend that he heard there had been “zero discussion” about an extension for Thompson. Marc Stein of ESPN.com wrote 10 days ago that the Cavs and Thompson were in active negotiations. Varejao beat out Thompson for the a job in the starting lineup for opening night.

The 32-year-old Varejao said recently that he wants to finish his career with the Cavs, and, as Wojnarowski notes, he remains close with LeBron James, with whom he’d been teammates for six years before James bolted for Miami. Those close to Varejao told him when the Cavs were a losing team that he should push for a trade, and the Lakers had interest in a deal that would have taken him to L.A. in exchange for Pau Gasol last year, but Varejao has said he never wavered on his commitment to the Cavs.

The 11th-year veteran nonetheless has financial incentive to wait until he hits free agency to sign a new deal with Cleveland. He can only make 107.5% of this year’s nearly $9.705MM salary in the first season of an extension with the Cavs, with 7.5% raises in subsequent years, and such a deal could only run through 2017/18. He could sign a five-year contract for up to roughly 35% of the salary cap if he became a free agent, though it’s unlikely that he’d command quite so much in salary, and the Cavs would probably have reservations about a deal that long for a player his age. Conversely, Varejao’s salary is only guaranteed for $4MM this year, but Cleveland is highly unlikely to waive him and pocket those savings, short of another in an already long line of injuries to the 30th overall pick from 2004.

Central Notes: Melo, Amundson, Pistons

October 26 at 3:30pm CDT By Zach Links

Knicks star Carmelo Anthony wasn’t surprised to learn that his squad would be opening the season against the Bulls, writes Marc Berman of the New York Post.  Meanwhile, he says that his offseason flirtation with Chicago has given him insight into their team.  “I have a lot of insight [into that team],’’ Anthony said. “I can’t express that right now. I have a better understanding what they’re about. The organization, the players, Coach Thibs, the front-office ownership. [Thibodeau’s] knowledge of the game and what he brings to the game, his excitement and enthusiasm. It doesn’t get better than that. … I give them a lot of credit. They were very impressive.”  More from the Central Division..

  • Lou Amundson is likely to secure a regular season roster spot, writes Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal. The center position could be the one spot in the Cavs lineup to have minutes available due to Anderson Varejao‘s injury history and a lack of proven options behind him.
  • Turning the Pistons into a playoff caliber team starts with coach and GM Stan Van Gundy, opines David Mayo of MLive.com. Van Gundy understands the process of building a successful team having turned franchises around in Miami and Orlando. “There are habits to change,” he said. “When you’ve lost for a long time, you get into losing habits. Nobody wants to lose and a lot of times guys don’t even realize the habits they’ve fallen into because they’re still NBA players and they’re playing well. I think they want to change. It just has to be more consistent.”
  • Former Bucks forward Chris Wright has joined PGE Turow Zgorzelec of Poland, according to agent Misko Raznatovic (on Twitter, h/t to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando).

Chris Crouse contributed to this post.

Central Rumors: Thompson, Love, Pistons

October 25 at 9:04pm CDT By Cray Allred

Fearing a potential fine from the league, Bulls coach Tim Thibodeau decided to withhold his opinion when asked by Doug Padilla of ESPNChicago.com about proposed changes to the NBA’s draft lottery system. “The thing that I don’t like about it is it just seems like…I think it’s bad when…I guess it’s fine,” Thibodeau said, before adding, “I’ll try to save my money.” NBA owners voted down a proposal last week that would have shaken up the lottery, giving the league’s worst teams a smaller chance at the highest picks. Here’s more from around the Central Division:

  • There has been “zero discussion” on a contract extension for the CavaliersTristan Thompson, a source tells Chris Haynes of Northeast Ohio Media Group. Thompson, who like teammate LeBron James is represented by Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, would become a restricted free agent next summer if no deal is reached by Friday. Haynes says Thompson is invaluable to the team’s ongoing championship makeup, an opinion shared by teammate Kyrie Irving. “He’s very important to us,” Irving said. “That motor he has, it’s something that never stops. He’s always on the boards. We’re going to need that. He’s a big part of our team.”
  • It was a desire to win that brought Kevin Love to Cleveland, the star forward writes in a piece for The Players’ Tribune (H/T Dan Labbe of the Plain Dealer). In the first-person essay, Love explains why he agreed to the summer trade that brought him to the Cavaliers from the Timberwolves. “I’ve never played in a playoff game,” Love writes. “I came to Cleveland because I want to win. I’ll grab a broom and sweep the floors if it gets me an NBA title.” Love also thanked Timberwolves fans and referenced the “crazy summer” of overall No. 1 draft choice Andrew Wiggins, who went to Minnesota in the blockbuster trade.
  • Pistons coach and president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy told David Mayo of MLive.com that he will make his final roster decisions this weekend, well before Monday’s deadline. Mayo cites Aaron Gray, Tony Mitchell, and Luigi Datome as possibile cuts, all of whom are on guaranteed contracts. Unless Detroit can send out a player in a trade, it will have to take the hit on one of its 16 guaranteed deals to get under the roster limit before the season starts.

Arthur Hill contributed to this post.

Central Notes: Thompson, Gilbert, Butler

October 25 at 3:47pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

The Cavs and forward Tristan Thompson have until October 31st to come to terms on a contract extension or Thompson becomes a restricted free agent next summer. Terry Pluto of The Plain Dealer looks at the options for both the player and the team and compares Thompson’s numbers against other forwards who have recently inked new deals.

Here’s the latest out of the Central Division:

  • In an interview with Pluto, Cavs owner Dan Gilbert said, “I look at the last four years as a payment for the next four to six years (when the Cavs begin to win again).” The last four seasons sans LeBron James have seen the franchise go a combined 97-215, and Gilbert discussed how difficult those seasons were, how he and James mended fences, as well as his expectations for the future of his franchise.
  • In his Central Division preview, Adi Joseph of USA Today says the division will come down to a battle between the Cavs and the Bulls. Another interesting storyline, according to Joseph,  is how the Pacers will fare without Paul George and Lance Stephenson after capturing the division crown a season ago.
  • With the deadline quickly approaching, Jimmy Butler remains confident that he can work out a contract extension with the Bulls in time, reports Scott Powers of ESPNChicago.com. First-round picks like Butler who are heading into their fourth season have until Oct. 31 to come to terms. Butler, who missed Chicago’s final two preseason games with sprained ligaments in his thumb, isn’t worried about the deadline. “I think we’re going to figure it out,” he said. “My main focus is now of all time is to get healthy. If you’re healthy, you’ll get paid anyway. That’s all I’m worried about it.” 

Arthur Hill contributed to this post.

Cavaliers Exercise Option On Dion Waiters

October 25 at 3:38pm CDT By Arthur Hill

The Cavaliers have exercised their fourth-year contract option on Dion Waitersgeneral manager David Griffin announced Saturday. This move gives the Cavs $21.48MM in guaranteed salary commitments for the 2015/16 season. But that figure doesn’t include a total of $41.17MM in player options for LeBron James, Kevin Love and Mike Miller. It also doesn’t factor in Tristan Thompson, who will be a restricted free agent next summer if he doesn’t sign an extension by Oct. 31st.

The decision on Waiters isn’t surprising, as he has become a big part of Cleveland’s rotation during his two seasons in Cleveland. Last year with the Cavaliers, he averaged 15.9 points, 3.0 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 70 games. Waiters was selected fourth overall by the Cavaliers in the 2012 NBA draft. He is scheduled to make $4,062,000 in 2014/15 and $5,138,430 in 2015/16.

During his time in Cleveland, Waiters hasn’t quite developed as rapidly as the team would have hoped. A natural point guard, he’s still adapting to his move to the wing, and his high turnover rate (2.1 per game) and low field goal percentage (42.4% for his career), have held him back from having more of an impact on the court. With the additions of James and Love, and with the continued development of Kyrie Irving, Waiters won’t likely average 13-14 shots per game, so his numbers are likely to take a slight hit.

Cavs Waive Shane Edwards

October 25 at 1:56pm CDT By Chuck Myron

1:56pm: The move is official, the Cavaliers have announced.

SATURDAY, 1:20pm: Cleveland has indeed waived Edwards, Jason Lloyd of The Akron Beacon Journal reports (Twitter link). No official announcement has been made by the team as of yet. This move would leave the Cavs’ preseason roster count at 15.

THURSDAY, 6:44pm: The Cavs are likely to waive small forward Shane Edwards, tweets Bob Finnan of The News-Herald. Cleveland is at 16 players, as our roster counts show, and Edwards is one of three who have non-guaranteed contracts, along with Lou Amundson and A.J. Price. If the Cavs are to make the move, they’d have to do it no later than 4 p.m. Central on Saturday so that he clears waivers in time for the team to have no more than 15 players when opening-night rosters are set at 4 p.m. Central Monday.

Edwards, 27, signed with the Cavs just as training camp began, returning to the team with which he made his NBA debut last season on a 10-day contract. He saw action in two games for just 12 total minutes on that deal, and Cleveland terminated his contract before the 10 days were up to accommodate the signing of Seth Curry. Edwards spent the lion’s share of the season with Cleveland’s D-League affiliate, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he winds up back there again.

The Cavs don’t have to carry 15 players come opening night, but if Edwards goes, it would seemingly put Amundson, Price as well as Alex Kirk, who has a partial guarantee worth $65K, in line to remain with the team into the regular season. Anderson Varejao also has a partially guaranteed contract, but he’s in no jeopardy of being cut loose.

Eastern Notes: Heat, Hawks, Knight, Ware

October 23 at 3:30pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

The Heat front office wasn’t deflated when they learned that LeBron James and his talents were returning to the Cavs, Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today writes. Miami’s brass looked at the departure as a new opportunity and a fresh chapter, notes Zillgitt. The team wasn’t interested in a long rebuilding process, and Zillgitt points to the team bringing back Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, as well as signing Josh McRoberts and Luol Deng as proof that the team still intends to be contenders in the Eastern Conference.

Here’s more from the east:

  • The Hawks have hired Goldman Sachs and Inner Circle Sports to help facilitate the sale of the franchise, Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports (Twitter link).
  • With 16 players remaining on their preseason roster the Celtics have at least one more personnel move to make prior to the regular season commencing. A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com hands out his preseason grades for the players and notes where each currently fits in Boston’s plans.
  • New Bucks team owners Wes Edens and Marc Lasry face their first major franchise decision, Gery Woelfel of The Journal Times writes. The two have to decide the contract future of Brandon Knight, whom they have until October 31st to work out an extension with or else he is eligible to become a restricted free agent next summer, notes Woelfel. Knight’s numbers and age compare favorably with Eric Bledsoe‘s, but many around the league feel that the Suns overpaid when the re-signed Bledsoe to a five year, $70MM deal, so Knight may be hard pressed to duplicate Bledsoe’s near $14MM per season average, the Journal Times scribe relays.
  • The Sixers still have 20 players on their preseason roster and a number of decisions to make before Saturday’s deadline to waive players so that they’re off the team by the time opening-night rosters are set on Monday. Casper Ware is in camp on a non-guaranteed deal, but has a very real shot to stick with the team, Dei Lynam of CSNPhilly.com writes. “I feel good about it,” Ware said. “I don’t know what they have planned, I just control what I can control and play hard.”

Central Notes: Bulls, Kidd, Cavs

October 19 at 9:24pm CDT By Zach Links

Mary Stevens of Basketball Insiders looked at three under-the-radar rookies to watch, including Doug McDermott of the Bulls.  The former Creighton standout will have to adjust to pace of the NBA quickly as Chicago has high hopes for this season, but he is widely regarded as one of the most NBA-ready players out of the 2014 class.  More from the Central Division..

  • Bucks coach Jason Kidd told Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPNNewYork.com he now believes the rumors that the Nets wanted to fire him as their coach last December. Later, the offseason trade that sent him to Milwaukee in exchange for two second-round draft picks convinced him of that, though many would say that it was Kidd who forced that situation. Kidd also questioned the Nets’ decision not to retain free agent forward Paul Pierce, who signed a two-year, $11MM deal with the Wizards. “I believe it,” Kidd said regarding Pierce’s claim about not being offered a contract. “I mean, if they don’t offer [Pierce] a contract worth what a first-round pick is, then why did we do the deal [last year for Pierce and Kevin Garnett]?”
  • After dropping Stephen Holt and Chris Crawford today, the Cavs need to make at least one more cut before the regular season begins.  However, it’s more likely that they will make two cuts to leave a roster spot open for a free agent, writes Chris Haynes of The Plain Dealer.
  • Spencer Dinwiddie sees an opportunity for increased playing time with the Pistons, between his improving knee and this week’s trade that sent Will Bynum to the Celtics.  The point guard, who suffered a torn ACL last winter, told Keith Langlois of Pistons.com that his knee is feeling better and that he is ready to compete for minutes. Detroit traded Bynum away within days of Dinwiddie taking part in his first simulated game action, which may or may not be coincidental.

Arthur Hill contributed to this post.