Central Notes: Bender, Thompson, Clarkson, Beasley

The Cavaliers decided not to make a stronger play for Dragan Bender because he would have required too much guaranteed money, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Bender signed a two-year, $3.5MM deal with the Bucks last month that includes a partial guarantee of about $600K. Cleveland was hesitant to give that much to a player who wouldn’t have been a sure thing to make the roster.

After being selected with the fourth pick in the 2016 draft, Bender put up three uninspiring years in Phoenix, including averages of 5.0 points and 4.0 rebounds in 46 games last season. He was an unrestricted free agent because the Suns declined his fourth-year option in October.

Instead of giving money to Bender, the Cavs opted for former Clippers guard Sindarius Thornwell, who will come to camp on a non-guaranteed minimum contract. With Cleveland less than $3MM away from the luxury tax line, guaranteeing money for a player like Bender would have been risky.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Tristan Thompson and Jordan Clarkson would have been available for trades earlier this summer, Fedor adds in the same story. Both will be free agents next July, and moving their salaries ($18.5MM for Thompson and $13.4MM for Clarkson) could offer the chance for cap relief. With training camp about six weeks away, Fedor doesn’t expect the Cavaliers to move either player soon, but their names should resurface closer to the February deadline.
  • Michael Beasley‘s agreement with the Pistons is expected to be non-guaranteed, according to Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press. Beasley will battle Christian Wood, who was claimed off waivers last month, for the final roster spot. With the signing of Derrick Rose, Detroit has added the top two picks in the 2008 draft this summer.
  • Better ball movement will be an emphasis for the Bulls this year, writes Mark Strotman of NBC Sports Chicago. The team ranked near the bottom of the league last season in assist ratio, effective field goal percentage and several other key offensive categories. Chicago is counting on several offseason additions, such as the signing of Thaddeus Young, to help improve in those areas.
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10 thoughts on “Central Notes: Bender, Thompson, Clarkson, Beasley

  1. Yeetus

    The Bulls will win 15 games next season because Markannen LaVine Carter White will all be “injured”. Fire GarPax

  2. hiflew

    The Cavs would have been better off moving Thompson or Clarkson earlier in the offseason. Waiting until February only limits your market to the small number of teams that will have the space and/or will require taking back similar money, probably longer term. As close as they are to the tax line, Cleveland should not be this bad. They are in for a tough decade.

    • x%sure

      Tough decade? They clear $66MM for next summer and have extra picks in 2022 (more or less). They should be a good 3pt shooting team now. It will be a tough YEAR, then good prospects to follow with Love/Nance/Zizic.

      • Love will be very old before they are a good team again. Cavs should have done what GSW did and get younger after losing players but instead they took on to many bad contracts. If you don’t think getting rid of Thompson or Clarkson is a good move you are to much of a homer.

        • x%sure

          3)Never said that. Below, I say they, and more, are available. Very few are not, which makes Vardon specifying Clarkson & TT a bit odd.

          2)They took bad contracts to get picks; it’s a srandard thing for a rebuilding team to do. Picks are even “younger” than young players.

          1)Love is a center now; he can be old & still be effective if not injured. His $30MM does not prevent anything from happening given Cleveland’s (lack of) popularity with major FAs. His salary is thus painless. Basically any FA choosing the Cavs gets an overpay.

          They tried to win 2018/19 but did not play winning defense then Love got hurt. I might have wished GM Altman tried a few more players but he wants to save flexibility for a midseason bargain.

    • You couldn’t have dumped those two players early in fa. Teams wait for the big names first.

  3. x%sure

    Prefer Thornwell to Bender anyway. And there are more than two Cavs available in trade!

    Pacers will miss Thaddeus. They could have easily fit his $12.9 under the tax line. It’s like they were worried that if they kept him, they would have to start him because that’s their best option. So they abandoned their best option to force a change. Risky.

    They are over the cap anyway after signing Jeremy Lamb for $10.5MM, a backup who will be splitting time with two Holidays. I predict Aaron Holiday will be the third guard. Lamb does have a sweet 17 PER but Brogdon may not be a true PG like Aaron is.

  4. Jordan Clarkson, John Henson and Protected first round to the Timberwolves for Andrew Wiggins and Josh Okogie. Timberwolves get a pack up for Teague that can score in bunches. Henson plays more of a vet role that cover minutes at 4 and 5. Either way both contracts expire at the end of the season. The Cavs bring back Wiggins with the view of making him partner Nance Jr in the forward positions. Okogie plays back up minutes but surprises a few with his defence. Both teams benefit in the short term and long term

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