Cleveland has been the league’s biggest surprise, piling up victories despite losing Collin Sexton and Rubio to season-ending injuries. The Cavaliers have won eight of their last nine games and are 11 games above .500.
This week, the Cavaliers were granted an $8.9MM Disabled Player Exception — half of Rubio’s salary — due to the torn ACL he suffered last month. That exception would be nullified if they traded Rubio before using it. Rubio will be an unrestricted free agent after the season.
Cleveland owns all of its first-round picks and has eight extra second-rounders at its disposal, including a pair this season, while only owing two second-rounders to other clubs. The team also has a $4.3MM trade exception at its disposal.
But as Fedor notes, the team is approximately $3MM below the luxury tax threshold and also doesn’t want to wreck the chemistry it has built. Coach J.B. Bickerstaff said those factors will come into play regarding any moves president of basketball operations Koby Altman might make.
“We’ve had a lot of conversations about that,” Bickerstaff said. “We know how fragile chemistry is and how quickly it can be bothered. This is a very important time for our team, an opportunity — if they’re there — to improve itself, but also an opportunity to not feel rushed to do something that could impact the chemistry we’ve built. Our front office has a heavy understanding of how important that is. They are aggressive to improve this team. They do a lot of homework and understand the type of people you’re going to bring in if you do decide to make a move. We do have something good brewing here with the group. Definitely don’t want to do something that negatively impacts it.”