The Cavs are shopping backup center Brendan Haywood with the intent of acquiring a backup point guard or inside player, according to Joe Vardon of the Northeast Ohio Media Group. Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal wrote last month that the “whispers are growing louder” that Cleveland would part with Haywood’s subtly valuable contract before it reaches its full value as a trade chip this summer. That’s because there’s a strong chance that the Cavs will remain over the tax line come July, which would mean that they couldn’t bring in players via sign-and-trade. That would limit the value of Haywood’s $10,522,500 non-guaranteed salary for next season, giving the Cavs reason to dangle Haywood to teams that could take full advantage of his contract this summer.
Haywood’s cap hit is slightly less than $2.214MM this season, though he’s drawing a total of $9.798MM, with the difference coming from the Mavs, who waived Haywood via amnesty in 2012. The Cavs wouldn’t be able to reap a high-salaried player in return for him before the February 19th trade deadline, thanks to the league’s salary-matching constraints that take cap hits and not amnestied salary into account. Yet they might be able to extract better draft compensation or a higher caliber of player than they would otherwise, given the value of Haywood’s deal to other clubs.
Keeping Haywood’s contract would still have appeal to the Cavs even if they stay above the tax line, since they could use his salary to trade for a player already under contract who’s making 125% plus $100K of Haywood’s $10,522,500 non-guaranteed salary come July. The Cavs only have about $26.340MM in commitments next season against a tax that’s projected to come in at $81MM. However, that doesn’t include salary for LeBron James, Kevin Love, J.R. Smith or Mike Miller, all of whom have player options, or new deals for soon-to-be restricted free agents Tristan Thompson, Iman Shumpert and Matthew Dellavedova. That $26.340MM figure doesn’t count Timofey Mozgov‘s team option or Haywood’s non-guaranteed salary, either.
The trade value of Haywood is almost entirely tied to his contract, though he did make one start this season in between the time Anderson Varejao tore his Achilles tendon and Cleveland’s acquisition of Mozgov. The 35-year-old Haywood has nonetheless played only 5.3 minutes per game across 17 appearances after missing all of last season with injury.