Community Shootaround: Cavs’ Open Roster Spots

The Cavaliers appear to be “playing the two-week game” with their open roster spots, salary cap expert Albert Nahmad observes (via Twitter).

NBA rules allow teams to carry 13 players on their 15-man rosters for up to two weeks at a time before getting back up to the 14-player minimum. The Cavs used that full two weeks after the trade deadline, then filled their 14th roster slot by signing Marcus Thornton to a 10-day deal. Now that Thornton’s contract has expired, Cleveland is once again taking its time to get back up to the minimum, as Nahmad notes.

[RELATED: 2017/18 NBA Roster Counts]

There’s a logic in this — the Cavs aren’t currently strapped for depth, and their projected luxury tax bill is already the league’s biggest. There’s no need to add a player before they have to if he’s not going to play, since he’ll cost exponentially more in taxes than his salary is worth.

Still, while the Cavs’ deadline deals appear to have rejuvenated LeBron James and kick-started the team, those trades cost the club some significant playoff experience. The six players Cleveland traded in February have appeared in a combined 393 postseason games. The four players they’ve acquired have combined for 94 playoff appearances, and 83 of those are George Hill‘s. Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. have never played in a postseason contest.

Previous playoff experience won’t necessarily be a deciding factor for the Cavs in a series against the Celtics and Raptors, but this franchise has shown it values that sort of experience. In each of the last two seasons, for instance, Cleveland has signed Dahntay Jones at the end of the season to get him on the postseason roster. Over those two years, Jones has played just two regular season games for the Cavs, but has appeared in 25 playoff contests.

It’s not clear if Jones is in the team’s plans again this season, but it might make sense for the Cavs to fill their open roster spots at the end of the season with veteran players who are capable of helping out in the playoffs, or at least serving as stabilizing forces on the bench and in the locker room. The longer Cleveland waits to make that sort of addition, the less money it’ll cost, so the team could hold off until the last week of the regular season to fill out its 15-man roster and prepare for the postseason.

If and when that happens, there are plenty of candidates out there to get the call. Kendrick Perkins and Tony Allen could be viable options, as could Jones. Given his performance in the Finals last year, Deron Williams probably isn’t at the top of the Cavs’ wish list, but he’s available too. So are other vets like Gerald Henderson, Anthony Morrow, Mike Miller, and Andrew Bogut. None of those players are likely to play major roles for the Cavs if they’re signed, but many of them would be useful depth pieces.

What do you think? Do the Cavaliers need to add a veteran or two to fill out their roster before the playoffs begin? If so, which free agents should they target? Or is their roster fine as is? Would the team be better served just getting to the 14-player minimum by taking a shot on a G League prospect?

Jump into the comment section below to share your thoughts!

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12 thoughts on “Community Shootaround: Cavs’ Open Roster Spots

  1. Thomas Swanson

    The Cavs said Love would be back with 13 games to go. Tristan only 2 weeks. That means Love should be back in about 5 games. He is at practice.
    It wouldn’t hurt to add Dahntay Jones. Remember the playoff game against Toronto. Bismack Byombo was having a career game with near 20 rebounds. Jones gave him a good shot to the family jewels and got suspended a game. The Cavs need bangers.

  2. Tramore

    I hope they sign tony Allen. Plays great D and has good playoff experience.

  3. Spyglass1

    I think the trades give Cavs best chance to win east…but does little against a matchup with GS or HOU

  4. When they permanently fill the roster spot, it will likely be a big. They have plenty of guys who can play on the wing and have enough guys to get by at the point/ball handler role (Clarkson, Hill, Calderon) when LeBron isn’t. Perkins seems likely as the veteran presence/big man depth since the Bogut buyout experience worked poorly for both parties last year. Morrow or Miller makes sense as shooters but the Cavs really don’t need them and if they’re getting down to either one for significant minutes, that likely means the other wings ahead of them are really struggling which would be a bigger problem. Allen or Jones makes sense as options who will play physical defense in spurts.

  5. Michael Chaney

    I personally think that in the end it’ll be Dahntay Jones or Kendrick Perkins, but Tony Allen would be a good fit too. Until then though, they’ll probably sign someone else to a 10-day contract (maybe someone already on their G-League team so they don’t have to promote them like what they did with Thornton).

  6. Archie M.

    Bogut & Henderson (or Tony Allen). Bogut over Perkins, for limited minutes, Bogut can do whatever Perkins can but he is also a better passer & can shoot from distance. Slight preference for Henderson over Allen because he’s much younger (only 30) and for limited minutes, can perhaps deliver whatever can be expected from an aging Tony Allen can.

  7. x%sure

    Bogut had good numbers with LAL this year. A center would also be the easiest to plug in, considering the new guys are still fitting in. Hood has been 2, 3, and 4. And how good will the injured bigs be?

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