Center Sasha Kaun has retired after playing one season with the Cavaliers, according to Gary Bedore of KUSports.com. The 31-year-old Kaun played sparingly with Cleveland, appearing in 25 games. He was traded to the Sixers earlier this month, then waived. He played seven seasons with CSKA Moscow after completing his college career at Kansas. “I was very blessed and fortunate to play as long as I have,” he told the Journal-World from Colorado.
Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue has agreed to a five-year, $35MM extension, league sources informed Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical.
Lue was named head coach after David Blatt was fired on January 22nd. Cleveland went 27-14 the rest of the regular season under Lue’s guidance, then made history by winning its first championship. Lue was instrumental in keeping the team focused after it trailed the Warriors 3-1 in the Finals, then made its historic comeback to claim the title.
Lue had been Blatt’s associate head coach since the summer of 2014, when Blatt got the head job over him.
Lue became the league’s top-paid assistant at that time with a four-year deal worth $6.5MM. After he was named head coach, the Cavs and Lue’s representatives came to a verbal agreement on a renegotiated deal that would have paid him $3MM prorated for last season and $3MM this season, with a team option for a third year at $3.5MM with a buyout.
However, Lue reportedly didn’t sign that deal and there were no performance standards or stipulations that would have kept the verbal agreement valid after the season.
JULY 22: The Cavaliers have officially signed Andersen, the team announced today in a press release.
JULY 15: After finalizing a trade to send Sasha Kaun to the Sixers, the Cavaliers have agreed to terms on a one-year deal with Andersen, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical (via Twitter). It’s a minimum-salary pact, tweets Dave McMenamin of ESPN.
JULY 8: The Cavaliers are nearing an agreement with veteran NBA big man and all-around entertaining locker room presence, Chris Andersen, Chris Haynes of The Northeast Ohio Media Group relays (on Twitter). Cleveland head coach Tyronn Lue noted during an appearance on NBA TV that the team was in the process of signing Andersen.
If Andersen does indeed join the defending NBA champs, he’ll reunite with former Heat teammate LeBron James. The big man will likely be signing with the team for the veteran’s minimum, though that is merely my speculation. Andersen should provide additional depth, energy and defense off the bench for the Cavs.
Andersen was dealt to the Grizzlies during the season and appeared in 20 games for Memphis after his arrival. He averaged 4.6 points, 4.5 rebounds and 0.5 assists in 18.3 minutes per outing while shooting .548/.222/.688 from the field.
In previous NBA seasons, there was usually a reasonably balanced split between teams that went under the cap and used cap room to sign free agents or to acquire players via trade and teams that remained over the cap and relied on exceptions to add new players. With the salary cap taking an unprecedented leap this summer from $70MM to $94MM, however, nearly every NBA team renounced its mid-level, bi-annual, and trade exceptions and went under the cap.
While many of those teams have since used up their cap space and gone back over the cap, there are only four NBA teams that have stayed over the cap for the 2016/17 league year so far, and one of those four likely won’t be over the cap for much longer.
Here’s a breakdown of the teams not using cap room in 2016/17:
Will not use cap room in 2016/17:
The Cavaliers could still technically get under the cap, but it would require parting ways with LeBron James, so that’s a non-starter. Without LeBron under contract, the Cavs still have over $81MM in guaranteed 2016/17 salary on their books, and the team would also like to re-sign J.R. Smith. Those two players could cost upward of $40MM combined for the coming season, putting Cleveland back into tax territory.
With no cap room available, the Cavs have had to rely on exceptions to make tweaks to their roster — the team used a trade exception to land Mike Dunleavy and will sign Chris Andersen using the minimum-salary exception. One move to keep an eye on is the signing of Richard Jefferson, which is not yet official. Assuming the initially-reported terms of the agreement – $5MM over two years – are accurate, Jefferson may be receiving a portion of the club’s mini mid-level exception. Cleveland only has Jefferson’s Non-Bird rights, which wouldn’t accommodate a salary worth up to $5MM over two years.
Los Angeles Clippers
With Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan combining for nearly $65MM in total salary in 2016/17, the Clippers would have had to part ways with most of the rest of their players in order to create a significant chunk of cap room. Instead, the team re-signed many of its own free agents, including Austin Rivers, Jamal Crawford, Wesley Johnson, and Luc Mbah a Moute.
Since the Clippers didn’t have full Bird rights on Johnson, the club used its full mid-level exception on him, creating a hard cap of $117,287,000 for the coming season. Los Angeles is currently less than $4MM away from that hard cap.
L.A. is using the minimum-salary exception to fill out the rest of its roster, using that exception to add players like Marreese Speights, Brandon Bass, Raymond Felton, and second-round pick Diamond Stone.
The Raptors entered the offseason with the opportunity to open up a little cap room, even if they re-signed DeMar DeRozan. But the team wouldn’t have been able to create more than $6-7MM in space, so it made more sense for Toronto to keep its mid-level and bi-annual exceptions.
The Raptors ultimately remained over the cap and used their MLE to sign Jared Sullinger. It appears the rest of the club’s free agent additions to date – Fred VanVleet and Jarrod Uthoff – will be signed using the minimum-salary exception, so the team should still have its bi-annual exception available. Like the Clippers, the Raptors are hard-capped at $117,287,000, but Toronto is currently in no danger of reaching that mark.
Have not used cap room yet in 2016/17:
Oklahoma City Thunder
Having lost Kevin Durant, the Thunder could open up a sizable portion of cap room if they renounce Dion Waiters‘ cap hold, along with their mid-level, bi-annual, and trade exceptions. That may ultimately be the plan, particularly if Russell Westbrook is open to renegotiating his contract, but for now, the team is waiting to see what happens with Waiters.
The Thunder agreed to terms with Alex Abrines on a deal that can be finalized using the mid-level exception if they remain over the cap. If they dip below, they’ll use cap room to complete that signing.
Salary information from Basketball Insiders was used in the creation of this post.
The Kings are refusing to listen to trade offers for DeMarcus Cousins, according to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders. Sacramento is aware of the Celtics’ interest in the All-Star center and has received an offer from the Cavaliers. However, it looks as if the Kings are determined to keep Cousins, who has two seasons remaining on his contract. Since the season ended, Cousins has embarked on a hot yoga program and has dropped about 25 pounds.
Traded player exceptions, which we’ve explained extensively in a Hoops Rumors glossary entry, are a tool that over-the-cap teams can use to complete trades. For mid-season deals, when most teams are at or over the salary cap, these exceptions are typically used and created frequently.
This summer, however, with the salary cap increasing by more than $24MM and most teams choosing to use cap room rather than staying over the cap, trade exceptions have become scarcer — and less useful. In order for teams to actually use their available cap room to take on salaries or to sign free agents, those exceptions must be renounced.
Heading into the 2016/17 league year, teams around the NBA held a total of 29 trade exceptions. After the new league year officially got underway and the moratorium ended, the majority of those TPEs were lost. In total, 22 of the 29 previously-existing traded player exceptions were renounced or expired.
Earlier this month, only the Clippers, Cavaliers, and Thunder still held any TPEs, with Cleveland hanging onto five of them, and L.A. and OKC holding one apiece. Over the last week or so, a few new trade exceptions have been created, but with so many teams still under the cap, the full list is much shorter than it has been in past years.
Here’s a breakdown of the newly-created TPEs:
How it was created: When the Grizzlies signed Troy Daniels away from the Hornets, they did so in a sign-and-trade deal, allowing Charlotte to create a TPE for half of Daniels’ $3,332,940 salary.
Los Angeles Clippers
How it was created: When the Clippers acquired Devyn Marble from the Magic for C.J. Wilcox, the team actually used its old $947,276 TPE (acquired in January’s Josh Smith trade) to absorb Marble’s salary, then created a new exception worth Wilcox’s salary.
The traded player exceptions listed above have been added to our full breakdown of the TPEs available around the league. That list no longer includes the $2,038,206 exception the Thunder created last summer when they sent Perry Jones III to the Celtics — that TPE expired on July 14.
Our full list of TPEs also no longer features the following exceptions, all of which were renounced earlier this month when these teams went under the cap (expiry date listed in parentheses):
- Atlanta Hawks: $947,276 (2/18/17)
- Brooklyn Nets: $2,170,465 (7/13/16)
- Chicago Bulls: $2,854,940 (2/18/17)
- Chicago Bulls: $947,276 (6/22/17)
- Denver Nuggets: $135,000 (2/18/17)
- Detroit Pistons: $6,270,000 (6/29/17)
- Golden State Warriors: $5,387,825 (7/27/16)
- Golden State Warriors: $3,197,170 (7/31/16)
- Memphis Grizzlies: $450,000 (2/18/17)
- Miami Heat: $1,706,250 (7/27/16)
- Miami Heat: $1,294,440 (7/27/16)
- Miami Heat: $2,129,535 (11/10/16)
- Miami Heat: $2,145,060 (2/16/17)
- Miami Heat: $845,059 (2/18/17)
- Miami Heat: $2,854,940 (2/18/17)
- Milwaukee Bucks: $5,200,000 (7/9/16)
- Milwaukee Bucks: $4,250,000 (7/9/16)
- Minnesota Timberwolves: $5,000,000 (7/12/16)
- New Orleans Pelicans: $102,217 (12/24/16)
- New York Knicks: $1,572,360 (6/22/17)
- Phoenix Suns: $578,651 (2/18/17)
Information from Basketball Insiders was used in the creation of this post.