The Heat’s recent cost-cutting moves, such as trading Mario Chalmers this week, are a stark contrast to the Cavaliers’ free-spending philosophy, writes Jason Lloyd of The Akron Beacon Journal. While Miami trims salary to avoid a hefty luxury tax bill, Cleveland is facing the second-highest payroll/tax figure in league history. However, Lloyd points out that the Cavs are still years away from having to worry about the repeater tax. No team has ever been in a position to pay it, but the Heat could be if they don’t cut salary by about $5MM more before the season ends.
There’s more news out of Cleveland:
- Anderson Varejao has become a very expensive insurance policy for the team, writes Marla Ridenour of The Akron Beacon Journal. The veteran has seen his playing time cut because of Cleveland’s influx of talent, but his contract remains hefty. Varejao is making more than $9.6MM this year, and the figure is set to rise above $10.3MM next season, with more than $9.3MM of that guaranteed. The final year of his deal is non-guaranteed at $10MM, but he will get a $4.5MM guarantee if he remains on the roster on August 1st, 2017. “Do I want to play? Yes. But I can’t take it personal,” said Varejao, who missed most of last season with an Achilles injury. “It’s just the beginning of the season. It’s a long season. I’m still getting better. I know I’m not 100% yet.”
- Varejao’s chance should come later in the season, contends Terry Pluto of The Plain Dealer. With Timofey Mozgov, Tristan Thompson and Kevin Love taking most of the minutes at center and power forward, there hasn’t been much need yet for Varejao, but Pluto expects injuries and slumps to change that equation before the season ends.
- David Blatt is happy that questions about being a rookie head coach are finally over, writes Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group and the Cleveland Plain Dealer. After more than two decades of coaching overseas, Blatt didn’t like being treated like a newcomer to the profession.