2020/21 Salary Cap Preview: Cleveland Cavaliers

Hoops Rumors is looking ahead at the 2020/21 salary cap situations for all 30 NBA teams. Due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the NBA, it’s impossible to know yet where the cap for 2020/21 will land. Given the league’s lost revenue, we’re assuming for now that it will stay the same as the ’19/20 cap, but it’s entirely possible it will end up higher or lower than that.

The Cavaliers‘ win-loss record says their 2019/20 season played out exactly as expected — projected by oddsmakers to be approximately a 24-win team, Cleveland was on a 24-win pace when the NBA went on hiatus.

However, the path the club took to its 19-46 record – including keeping big men Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson, trading for Andre Drummond, and parting ways with first-year head coach John Beilein – wasn’t quite so predictable.

Depending on what happens this offseason with Drummond, the Cavs may enter the 2020/21 league year without any cap room, so major changes aren’t necessarily coming. The franchise will instead focus on continuing to acquire and develop young talent as its rebuild continues.

Here’s where things stand for the Cavaliers financially in 2020/21, as we continue our Salary Cap Preview series:

Guaranteed Salary

Player Options

Team Options

  • None

Non-Guaranteed Salary

Restricted Free Agents

  • None

Unrestricted Free Agents / Other Cap Holds

Offseason Cap Outlook

Drummond’s player option is the wild card for the Cavaliers. If he opts out, there’s a path for the team to carve out some salary cap room, but with the cap in flux as a result of COVID-19, exercising that $28.8MM option looks like the safe play for the veteran center. That would eliminate Cleveland’s chances of creating cap space.

How much flexibility the Cavs ultimately have below the luxury tax line will hinge on a few other factors, including whether or not the team re-signs Thompson.

Cap Exceptions Available

  • Mid-level exception: $9,258,000 3
  • Bi-annual exception: $3,623,000 3
  • Trade exception: $3,837,500 (expires 12/24/20)


  1. The Cavaliers can’t offer Zizic a starting salary worth more than his cap hold, since they declined his rookie scale team option for 2020/21.
  2. The cap holds for Frye and Stauskas remain on the Cavaliers’ books because they haven’t been renounced after going unsigned in 2019/20. They can’t be used in a sign-and-trade deal.
  3. This is a projected value.

Note: Minimum-salary and rookie-scale cap holds are based on the salary cap and could increase or decrease depending on where the cap lands.

Salary information from Basketball Insiders and Early Bird Rights was used in the creation of this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

newest oldest

9 thoughts on “2020/21 Salary Cap Preview: Cleveland Cavaliers

  1. king beas

    Kevin love isn’t an asset anymore in order to trade him they’ll have to add first or Sexton or garland to get rid of him. B/R just made an article where the Cavs got the warriors 2020 pick which as of right now is #1 in return there’s no way

  2. stevep-4

    Why would Cleveland want cap space? Who of any value is going to be willing to sign there?

    Drummond will stay, he is never getting a payday like that again. Thompson will be gone if he won’t take the bi-annual, he has been overpaid and everyone but LeBron (and him) knows it.

    The rest can retire or try the Euroleague or CBA.

    • Luke Adams

      Altman has shown a few times that he’s willing to trade for unwanted contracts if it nets the Cavs draft picks. If they were to get any cap room (which they almost definitely won’t this offseason), I imagine it’d be used for that purpose rather than to sign free agents.

  3. KnickerbockerAl

    Only reason Thompson got paid is Bron. Overpaid for sure. With Nance there Cavs don’t need him. Plus he and Drummond is not a gd mix. I agree Drummond is not turning down 28 mill. I happened to like him. But you have to commit to playing Inside outside gm. You have to commit to his strengths. Most teams just won’t. Warriors didn’t use the center position as a strength. Are given credit for this trend. Truth is the MJ Bulls did center by committee. They won six rings. It’s how they played Ewing. They knew he was only one they had to control. I think TWolves would be smart to try and get Love back. He could end career there. Plus he and KAT is a gd mix. He and top 4 pick. Makes them a 6th seed in west. Cavs can get their 2nd 1st rd pick. Should be like 16th pick. There would be a gd pick there. Definitely a PF, draft heavy there. Plus expiring contract Johnson and a player. Cavs need to commit to rebuild. Best thing for them would be. Is getting Edwards in draft. Can start at SG right away. Could be ROY. Then at 16th pick up PF, Achiuwa or Stewart would be a great pick. I’d be talking to Minny right now

  4. x%sure

    Tristan will probably sign elsewhere for maybe 3/$22, a bargain, and there goes the alleged big-man jam-up on the Cavs. Indeed they could look for another for depth. KLove, Nance can shoot 3s.

Leave a Reply