Despite not projecting to be a legit contender in 2019/20, the Cavaliers have already committed a significant amount of money to player contracts — Basketball Insiders has the Cavs at over $123MM in guaranteed salaries for next season, which would put team salary well above the cap, approaching tax territory.
As Joe Vardon of The Athletic writes, the Cavaliers don’t have a probably with spending big on next year’s roster if it helps accelerate the rebuild. They’re “willing to spend to lose if it helps them win faster,” Vardon suggests. Some of those multiyear contracts Cleveland has taken on – including Brandon Knight‘s, John Henson‘s, and Matthew Dellavedova‘s – have come attached to valuable draft picks, and the Cavs are willing to continue taking on future money for assets.
However, Vardon notes that the team would very much like to stay out of tax territory next season. Because they were in the tax during LeBron James‘ last few years in Cleveland, the Cavaliers would be subject to repeater tax penalties if they end up back over that threshold this year or next, and that’s probably a bridge too far for a lottery-bound team to cross. With next year’s tax line projected to come in around $132MM, the Cavs will have to be careful about adding more money this summer.
Here’s more from around the Central:
- In a mailbag for Cleveland.com, Chris Fedor addressed a number of Cavaliers-related topics, including whether Jordan Clarkson is more likely to be a part of the club’s long-term future or a trade chip.
- If the Bucks finalize their deal with Pau Gasol on Sunday – the earliest possible day they could sign him – the team will still be below the luxury tax threshold $546K, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks. However, that figure doesn’t include $500K in unlikely incentives for Tony Snell, which he’s in position to achieve, Marks notes. That gives Milwaukee $46K in wiggle room, so the team is unlikely to make any other roster moves anytime soon.
- Wesley Matthews, who joined the Pacers last month, has been a great fit on and off the court for the club, writes Jim Ayello of The Indianapolis Star. “That’s why we recruited him so hard,” head coach Nate McMillan said. “We knew what type of player he was. He’s a competitor, and when he steps out on that floor, he’s all out. He’s giving you everything he has. It starts for him, which you don’t see from a lot of players in the NBA, on the defensive end of the floor. He accepts that challenge of guarding the best (wing) player.”