The Cavaliers have “a lot of confidence” that restricted free agent Collin Sexton will be back with the team next season, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com told Jake Fischer during the latest episode of Fischer’s Please Don’t Aggregate This podcast.
As Fedor explains, there has been no indication that the Cavs are seriously exploring any sign-and-trade scenarios or that a suitor with cap room will make an aggressive play for Sexton, so it may just be a waiting game to see what kind of contract the former lottery pick ends up on.
As Fedor explains, when Sexton and the Cavs discussed an extension a year ago, they were exploring a Bogdan Bogdanovic-type contract — approximately $72MM over four years. However, after Sexton missed nearly all of 2021/22 due to a torn meniscus, the Cavs would like to get him back on a deal in the range of $12-14MM per year. Fedor has previously reported that the team put a three-year, $40MM offer on the table.
Given that agent Rich Paul is a tough negotiator and won’t want to accept a long-term deal that he believes is below market value, Fedor still believes the most likely scenario is that Sexton accepts his $7.2MM qualifying offer, which would allow him to reach unrestricted free agency next summer. However, both Fischer and Fedor believe that there’s a case to be made for Sexton accepting that three-year offer, since it would give him some financial security and would still put him on track to enter unrestricted free agency at age 26.
Here’s more on the Cavs:
- It’s “very important” to the Cavs that they don’t go into luxury tax territory this season, per Fedor. “I had it put to me that it’s not happening, that they’re not willing to go into the luxury tax” Fedor said. Currently, the team has about $13MM in breathing room below the tax line, though if Sexton accepts the club’s current offer, that cushion would all but disappear. That proximity to the tax is one reason why Cleveland isn’t willing to go higher for Sexton at this point.
- If Sexton re-signs with the Cavs, the team will need to trade or release a player on a standard contract before the regular season begins. Cedi Osman could be a trade candidate in that scenario, according to Fedor, who notes that the forward fell out of favor with head coach J.B. Bickerstaff near the end of last season. However, Fedor adds that the Cavs still value Osman and wouldn’t simply want to dump his salary. According to Fischer, the Timberwolves and Celtics are among the teams believed to have checked in on Osman in the past.
- Noting that LeBron James will be a free agent next summer if he doesn’t sign an extension with the Lakers before then, Fedor and Fischer both suggest the Cavaliers wouldn’t close the door on the idea of another reunion with the star forward, as long as it’s on their terms. “Of course Cleveland would be open to a LeBron return, but it does seem like the Cavaliers made it very clear…that (they) would really only be open to that on a deal or in a situation that made sense for everyone,” Fischer said. “They would be adding LeBron as a piece into this rebuild, not handing over the keys to the franchise like they had done in the past.”
- Fedor explored the LeBron speculation in more depth at Cleveland.com, writing that the Cavs “aren’t currently plotting a third go-around” with the former Finals MVP, but won’t rule it out either.