NBA Concludes McCaw Investigation, Finds No CBA Violations

The NBA announced today in a press release that it has concluded its investigation into the Cavaliers‘ signing – and subsequent release – of Patrick McCaw. According to the announcement, the league found that there was no violation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, including the anti-circumvention rules.

McCaw, the final restricted free agent of 2018’s class, held out for most of the first half of the season before signing a two-year, $6MM offer sheet with the Cavaliers. The offer sheet was non-guaranteed, but was signed just a week and a half before all salaries for 2018/19 would become guaranteed — if the Warriors had matched, they would have had to pay McCaw his full $3MM salary for this season or waive him within about a week, putting him in line for unrestricted free agency.

Golden State opted not to match the offer sheet, so McCaw became a Cavalier. However, his stint in Cleveland only lasted for about a week, as the Cavs released him before the league-wide salary guarantee deadline. The third-year shooting guard subsequently signed a minimum salary contract with the Raptors once he became an unrestricted free agent.

Once the Cavs parted ways with McCaw, it looked suspiciously like the team had done his agent a solid, paving the way for the 23-year-old to become an unrestricted free agent. It also didn’t hurt that Cleveland’s series of transactions cost the rival Warriors an asset.

The NBA looked into the matter and could have levied fines or lost-draft-pick penalties on the Cavs if there was evidence of wrongdoing, but that outcome was always unlikely. Given their injury-ravaged roster, the Cavs had a clear motive for signing McCaw. And given his poor audition for the team – 1.7 PPG on 22.2% shooting in three games (17.7 MPG) – Cleveland also had an obvious motive for moving on from him last week.

Even though the Cavs have been cleared in this instance, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the league and the players’ union revisits this issue at some point. ESPN’s Bobby Marks suggests (via Twitter) that it might make sense, in the next CBA, to require the first year of offer sheets to be fully guaranteed. Another option, per Marks, would be to prohibit a player from re-signing with the team that waives him after signing him to a non-guaranteed offer sheet (ie. McCaw would have been ineligible to re-sign with the Cavs after being cut).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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16 thoughts on “NBA Concludes McCaw Investigation, Finds No CBA Violations

  1. How did GSW loose an asset? They didn’t wanna sign him… so they didn’t see him as an asset, in my pov they should be happy he left them, right?

    • Luke Adams

      If they didn’t view him as an asset, they would have renounced him a long time ago. They made multiple contract offers to him earlier in his free agency — they just didn’t want to match Cleveland’s offer.

      • Neither did the cavs who released him. GSW wanted him but he wanted more money and more playing time. Now he will sit on the raptors bench with less money than the 1 year deal he could have had with GSW. Just a dumb move by him.

  2. x%sure

    Why would the Cavs do an agent a favor at their own expense?– especially since the payoff to McCaw was so small, less than if he did the regular thing. And is GSW really a rival anymore? These speculations never made sense.

    But I guess they had to check it out. And perhaps it’s a first step to closing some loopholes.

    • ohiodevil

      Kinda like the lames that don’t know the difference between “loose” and “lose”.

  3. Reflect

    Seems like a lot of fuss about nothing. GSW had the option to match and chose not to. Cavs signed him and they had the right to waive him just like they have the right to waive anyone else. Nothing special actually happened. No one in the entire league was negatively affected.

    • Cavs lost because they wanted to resign him to a lower pay but couldn’t because it would show they had a deal before hand with him. If they resigned him at the lower amount they would have lost the investigation.

      • x%sure

        They would also be stuck paying a player who was either inadequate or did not want to be there.

      • moazetongue

        Come on arc89. McCaw is a player that can be replaced by just about any player in the G League. Cavs took a flyer on him and he stunk. So they dumped him and signed another player. It’s that simple.

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