McCaw got his wish last night when Golden State elected not to match the two-year, $6MM offer sheet he received from the Cavaliers. McCaw went through his first practice with Cleveland today, after which Vardon asked him the obvious question: Why didn’t he want to stay with an organization where he won two rings in his first two NBA seasons?
“I loved playing in Golden State,” McCaw responded. “My teammates, the coaches, it was nothing really … nothing stands out to me to say I didn’t want to go back. Think it was just a personal thing where I was just like, I think it was time for me to move on for a new opportunity within myself. Nothing against Golden State, front office, coaches, players, the environment, it had nothing to do with any of that. It’s just a personal thing, and I wanted a new opportunity to move on.”
McCaw went from the two-time defending champs to the team with the league’s worst record. He also made the move without any guaranteed money. Neither year of his offer sheet carries a guarantee, although all NBA contracts will be fully guaranteed for the rest of the season for players who remain on the roster beyond January 7.
As the league’s last remaining restricted free agent, McCaw has been waiting for an offer sheet since July. He turned down the Warriors’ $1.7MM qualifying offer and a subsequent two-year, $5.2MM offer with only the first year guaranteed. The “new opportunity” he had been seeking finally came Friday from the Cavaliers, who need reinforcements after a rash of injuries.
McCaw gets a chance to prove himself again as an NBA player after a disappointing second season and a frightening fall that kept him out of action from March to May. Cavaliers coach Larry Drew plans to play him right away, although he still needs to get into game shape and learn the team’s playbook.
“I took a different approach to this whole situation,” McCaw admits. “I was uncertain if I would get an offer sheet or anything. But being positive in myself and knowing something would come. I can’t really look back on the last two months and how I handled the whole situation, I can only continue to focus on now and the future. That’s all I’m waiting for.”