Central Notes: Kaun, Irving, Baynes, Pistons

The first season of Sasha Kaun’s two-year deal with the Cavaliers will be valued at $1.2MM, according to Terry Pluto of The Plain Dealer. That’ll come out of the taxpayer’s mid-level exception, since the rookie minimum is only $525,093. The Cavs had been carrying a $1.276MM portion of the mid-level after signing Mo Williams, so it appears they’re using most of the rest on Kaun. Cleveland believes it’s important to sign the 30-year-old center for two seasons because of uncertainty among its centers and power forwards, Pluto writes. Tristan Thompson remains unsigned and is rumored to be considering a one-year deal. Timofey Mozgov will become an unrestricted free agent next summer and could get an offer in excess of $100MM. Anderson Varejao and Kevin Love are both coming off serious injuries, and the Cavaliers may want to limit their playing time early in the season, so they may need Kaun to contribute right away.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Despite the decent chance that Kyrie Irving is out until January, the Cavs expect he’ll be ready to play before then, Pluto writes in the same story. The star guard, who is recovering from a fractured kneecap suffered during the NBA Finals, can also expect to see a minutes restriction once he returns to action. The signing of Williams allows the team to take some of the strain off Irving.
  • Aron Baynes could be an important addition for the Pistons as a backup to Andre Drummond, writes David Mayo of MLive. Responding to a question in his mailbag column, Mayo said he expects Baynes, who signed with Detroit as a free agent this summer, to outperform the numbers he put up in San Antonio. Mayo mentions Spencer Dinwiddie, who will be the backup point guard to start the season with Brandon Jennings still recovering from an Achilles injury, as another player who could surprise.
  • In the same piece, Mayo picks Reggie Bullock and Adonis Thomas as the most likely “on the bubble” players to earn a spot on Detroit’s roster. The Pistons currently have 17 players with fully guaranteed contracts.
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