11:06am: The Cavs are believed to be offering Rose a minimum salary deal, per Windhorst and Wojnarowski in their full ESPN report.
10:23am: Free agent point guard Derrick Rose is engaged in “serious” discussions with the Cavaliers about a possible one-year deal, sources tell Brian Windhorst and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).
The Cavs don’t have much cap flexibility to sign free agents, given how far their team salary currently is into tax territory. The club also used a little more than half of its $5.192MM mid-level exception to sign draft-and-stash prospect Cedi Osman, so if Rose were to come aboard, it would be for the rest of that MLE or the veteran’s minimum.
A minimum salary deal would be more advantageous for the Cavs, who face a substantial tax penalty for each additional dollar they spend. A one-year, minimum salary contract for Rose would pay him approximately $2.12MM, but would only count for about $1.47MM for cap purposes for Cleveland. A minimum salary deal would cost about an extra $7MM in tax penalties, based on the Cavs’ current team salary.
Whether Rose is willing to accept a minimum contract remains to be seen. He’s one of the top free agents still available, but the market for his services appears to be dwindling. Rose met with the Clippers earlier this month, but L.A. ultimately opted to sign Milos Teodosic to address the point guard spot. The Bucks seem to have been Rose’s most active suitor, having reportedly met with him twice. However, Milwaukee is inching closer to the tax line, limiting the club’s ability to make Rose an aggressive offer.
Rose, who turns 29 in October, is coming off a season in which he struggled with his outside shot more than ever (.217 3PT%) and wasn’t an elite distributor or defender. Still, he continues to display an ability to get to the rim and put the ball in the net, averaging 18.0 PPG in 64 games with the Knicks. The possibility of having him coming off the bench to provide a scoring punch for the Cavs is an intriguing idea.
Cleveland has already signed one backup for Kyrie Irving this summer, inking Jose Calderon to a minimum salary contract. While the team doesn’t necessarily need more depth at the position, Calderon and Rose possess very different skill-sets, so both could see playing time if Rose signs.
The news of the Cavs’ discussions with Rose arrives in the wake of Irving suggesting the team is in “a peculiar place,” and also comes just days after a report indicated that LeBron James is concerned about the club’s offseason.