Cleveland Cavaliers

Bulls, Dwyane Wade Reach Buyout Agreement

The Bulls and Dwyane Wade have reached an agreement on a buyout, K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune tweets.Dwyane Wade vertical

The early favorites for Wade’s services are the Spurs, Cavaliers and Heat, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets. Miami is currently positioned to pay him the most money this season.

Within minutes, Wojnarowski followed up with another tweet saying that Cleveland was a “clear frontrunner.”

Per Bobby Marks of ESPN, the Heat can sign Wade for $4.2MM and the Spurs can sign him for $3.3MM. The Cavaliers at $2.5MM could pay little over the veteran’s minimum.

The idea of Wade suiting up elsewhere in 2017/18 has been a popular topic ever since the organization traded Jimmy Butler to the Timberwolves earlier this summer.

It’s been said that Wade felt misled by the organization at the beginning of the offseason, given assurances that the team would remain competitive in his final year with the squad should he opt into his 2017/18 player option.

Wade, of course, did opt in but the Bulls soon changed course, trading Butler for a package centered around Zach LaVine and Minnesota’s No. 7 overall pick.

In the months since, the Bulls and Wade have gone back and forth in seemingly amicable negotiations.

Per Wojnarowski (also on Twitter), Wade will forfeit about $8MM of his $23.8MM contract, leaving the Bulls on the hook for around $16MM through 2017/18.

Considering that Chicago currently runs the risk of falling below the salary floor for the season, keeping the bulk of the veteran’s deal on their books isn’t particularly cumbersome.

Chicago came to an agreement with Nikola Mirotic earlier today that would have pushed the Bulls above the $89.2MM floor but the Wade buyout will drop them below yet again as training camps around the league begin in earnest.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Central Notes: Thompson, Cavaliers, LaVine, Collins, Pistons

Before the Knicks traded Carmelo Anthony to the Thunder, the Cavaliers were another potential suitor for his services. New York wanted Cleveland center Tristan Thompson in a deal for Anthony but the Cavaliers rejected that offer, according to Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com.

The Knicks wanted cost-friendly, young, and productive assets in exchange for Anthony. Thompson, 26, is under contract for three seasons but will make a hefty salary, starting with $16.4MM in 2017/18. Vardon reports that Cleveland was willing to part with other sizeable contracts on the roster — primarily Iman Shumpert and his $11MM salary — but no deal was reached.

New York still acquired a young, controllable center for Anthony as Enes Kanter came to New York in the deal. Kanter will take in nearly $20.6MM this upcoming season and holds an $18.6MM player option for 2018/19.

Read more news from the Central Division:

  • In his latest mailbag, Vardon answered several questions about the Cavaliers ahead of training camp. Vardon believes it is possible that the team trades Brooklyn’s 2018 first-round pick (acquired in the Kyrie Irving trade) for an elite talent.
  • Zach LaVine, who was acquired from the Timberwolves in the Jimmy Butler deal, is coming off a serious injury as he prepares for his first season in Chicago. However, former Bulls head coach and current Timberwolves head coach Tom Thibodeau feels that LaVine, still just 22 years old, has tremendous upside, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times writes.
  • During a recent podcast, Cowley spoke about what the hiring of Doug Collins as a senior adviser for the Bulls means for the team.
  • NBA.com’s Sam Smith previews the Bulls’ 2017/18 season by examining how the team’s mostly young core will develop.
  • NBA.com’s Keith Langlois looks at several storylines entering the Pistons‘ season. Among those storylines include Avery Bradley adjusting to Detroit, Luke Kennard‘s first impressions, and Reggie Jackson returning to form.

Cavaliers Notes: James, Anthony, Cousins, Wade

Don’t expect a firm answer from LeBron James tomorrow when Media Day questions turn to his future, writes Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. Monday will mark the first time the Cavaliers star has spoken to reporters since Game 5 of the NBA Finals and the first time since rumors emerged that he has plans to join the Lakers as a free agent next July. LeBron will probably tell the media that he hasn’t made up his mind, which Vardon believes is true.

The talk about LeBron’s next decision will overshadow other issues surrounding the team heading into training camp, such as the condition of Isaiah Thomas‘ hip, the new personnel on hand, the chances of Dwyane Wade coming aboard after a buyout from the Bulls and whether the organization plans to keep or trade the unprotected first-rounder it got from Brooklyn. But Cavaliers fans had better get used to it because LeBron’s future is going to eclipse everything all season.

There’s more news out of Cleveland:

  • The Knicks were demanding a first-round pick from the Cavaliers in exchange for Carmelo Anthony, Vardon writes in a separate story. Anthony included Cleveland among the three teams he was willing to waive his no-trade clause to join, but the Cavs felt the price was too high.
  • The Cavaliers are listening to offers for the Brooklyn pick, but it’s unlikely a deal will involve either of the Pelicans’ big men, according to Sam Amico of Amicohoops. Rumors have been circulating about DeMarcus Cousins, who will be a free agent next summer, but Amico says the teams haven’t discussed a Cousins trade and the Cavs may not even be interested. Also, Amico hears that New Orleans won’t trade Anthony Davis under any circumstances.
  • Amico believes Wade is headed to Cleveland, possibly before the season begins. He and the Bulls are ready to part ways, and Amico sees no reason why the buyout should be a lengthy process. He passes along a few other roster details in the same piece, stating that it’s unlikely that Kay Felder or Edy Tavares earns a spot, although both could wind up with the team’s G League affiliate in Canton; most scouts like Ante Zizic, who was acquired in the Kyrie Irving trade, more than Cedi Osman; and the Cavs and Rockets “were at the one-yard line, ready to punch it in” on an Iman Shumpert trade this summer.

Latest On The Carmelo Anthony Trade

Carmelo Anthony recently added the Thunder to the list of teams he would waive his no-trade clause to join, but Oklahoma City GM Sam Presti and New York GM Scott Perry had been discussing a deal for weeks, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Talks intensified over the last 24 hours before the agreement was reached earlier today. Anthony had reportedly insisted for most of the summer that he would only go to Houston, but he expanded that list this week to include the Thunder and Cavaliers.

The deal will be formally completed Monday, and Oklahoma City expects to have Anthony on hand when training camp begins Tuesday.

More has emerged since the trade was announced:

  • Sources tell ESPN’s Ian Begley that Anthony believed yesterday there was a good chance he was headed to Cleveland (Twitter link). Anthony has a tight relationship with LeBron James, and the Cavaliers could use another scorer while Isaiah Thomas is sidelined with a hip injury.
  • The addition of Anthony could put the Thunder in the running to sign Dwyane Wade once he reaches a buyout with the Bulls, tweets Chris Mannix of the Vertical. Wade probably wouldn’t start in Oklahoma City and the team can’t offer much money, but he may be willing to accept a sixth man role to take another shot at a ring beside Anthony, Russell Westbrook and Paul George.
  • Presti should be lauded for rebuilding the Thunder without surrendering a first-round pick, tweets Michael Lee of The Vertical. OKC send Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis to Indiana in exchange for George, then shipped Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott and a 2018 second-rounder to the Knicks to get Anthony. The Thunder already owe their 2018 first-round pick to Minnesota (lottery protected) and another first-rounder to Orlando two years later.
  • Oklahoma City had a secret weapon, Lee adds, in vice president and assistant GM Troy Weaver, who helped recruit Anthony when he was an assistant coach at Syracuse (Twitter link).
  • The trade establishes the Thunder as the greatest threat to the Warriors’ dominance in the West, writes Dieter Kurtenbach of The San Jose Mercury News. He sees Anthony stepping into a much better role as a complementary stretch four in Oklahoma City, rather than a primary scorer in New York. OKC added free agent Patrick Patterson this summer and re-signed defensive ace Andre Roberson and may now have the pieces to challenge Golden State in a seven-game series.
  • ESPN’s Kevin Pelton graded the deal, giving the Thunder an A and the Knicks a D. Kanter and McDermott were both defensive liabilities, Pelton states, and the new alignment gives Oklahoma City a small-ball lineup that matches up much better with the Warriors. The Knicks didn’t take on any long-term contracts, but they also didn’t fill any pressing needs unless McDermott develops into a reliable wing scorer. Pelton expects New York to explore the trade market for Kanter before the February deadline.
  • Oklahoma City used two key pieces from the Bulls to pull off today’s deal, and Chicago doesn’t have much in return, writes Scott Krinch of CSNChicago. McDermott and the 2018 second-rounder that was shipped to the Knicks both came to OKC in a February trade that sent Cameron Payne, Joffrey Lauvergne and Anthony Morrow to the Bulls. Lauvergne and Morrow left as free agents over the offseason, and Payne will miss three to four months after foot surgery.
  • Kanter posted a message on Twitter, thanking the fans and management in Oklahoma City and saying, “Please beat the Warriors for me.”

Anthony Adds Cavs, Thunder To Trade List

10:12pm: The Knicks have been informed that the second of the two new teams on Anthony’s list of preferred trade destinations is Oklahoma City, Ian Begley of ESPN tweets. The Thunder, like the Cavs, would need to send at least $21.1MM back in any transaction.

It’s slightly more difficult to imagine a package coming from the Thunder than it is to envision one from the Cavs. Unlike Cleveland, Oklahoma City lacks a no-brainer appealing asset like the 2018 Nets pick.

A notable risk for any team looking to acquire Anthony, Bobby Marks of ESPN writes, is the fact that he could opt into a 2018/19 player option worth $27.9MM. In either Cleveland or Oklahoma City’s case, that could mean one year of paying a 34-year-old Anthony an exorbitant sum months after losing the core of their current teams (all of LeBron James, Russell Westbrook and Paul George can theoretically leave via free agency next summer).

8:08pm: The list of teams that Carmelo Anthony would approve being traded to now includes at least two other teams, one of which is the Cavaliers, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN writes.

The forward has been the subject of trade speculation over the course of the past year but had previously been very selective over the number of teams that he would waive his no-trade clause for.

Earlier today we discussed the fact that Anthony seemed destined to enter training camp with the Knicks after New York failed to find a suitable trade agreement with the Rockets.

Anthony, it’s been reported, had been eager to suit up alongside Chris Paul in Houston and reluctant to consider waiving his clause to appease the Knicks.

Per Wojnarowski, however, when New York’s front office failed to come to terms on a trade with the Rockets, they requested that Anthony’s camp expand their list.

Anthony, nothing but outwardly professional throughout this lingering saga, obliged and added at least two additional teams to his list within the past 10 days.

Wojnarowski writes that the Cavaliers and Knicks have been in touch regarding a possible deal but exact terms or players to be included haven’t been discussed. The Cavs, it’s worth noting, were originally on Anthony’s list last season prior to Houston’s trade to nab Paul earlier this summer.

The Knicks have assembled an intriguing team of young players and are actively seeking to expand their core. It’s said that general manger Scott Perry is looking for a scoring wing to replace Anthony’s production, short-term contracts and draft assets.

While the Cavs do hold Brooklyn’s first-round pick next season, a valuable asset considering the current state of the Nets, they’d have to include several rotation players to accommodate league salary cap rules. As Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets, Cleveland would have to include at least $21.1MM in outgoing contracts to make a deal work.

Jeff Green's Unique Tie To Cleveland

  • As Jeff Green settles into life with the Cavaliers, he does so with a unique connection to the city of Cleveland. The forward, Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com writes, underwent major heart surgery at the world-famous Cleveland Clinic back in 2012.

Cavaliers Invite Kendrick Perkins To Training Camp

Veteran center Kendrick Perkins was in attendance at LeBron James‘ Cavaliers mini-camp in Santa Barbara this week, and received an invitation to come to training camp with the club, a source tells Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. According to Vardon, Perkins will join the Cavs in camp, though he’s unlikely to make the regular season roster.

Perkins, who will turn 33 in November, last played in the NBA during the 2015/16 season for the Pelicans, averaging 2.5 PPG and 3.5 RPG in 37 regular season contests (14.6 MPG). Although he was unable to find an NBA home in 2016/17, Perkins isn’t ready to call it a career yet, and is looking to make a comeback.

A longtime starter for the Celtics and Thunder, Perkins posted very modest numbers during his last couple years in the league, and his skill-set doesn’t make him a great fit in the modern NBA. Still, it’s possible his locker room presence and leadership would make him worth a spot on some team’s 15-man roster.

That team likely won’t be the Cavaliers, however. After their Kyrie Irving trade with the Celtics, Cleveland has 15 players with fully guaranteed salaries on its roster, and that number doesn’t include youngsters Kay Felder or Edy Tavares.

Nets' Performance May Affect LeBron's Next Decision

LeBron James‘ future in Cleveland could be tied to the Brooklyn Nets’ performance this season, writes Harvey Araton of The New York Times. The value of the Nets’ unprotected first-rounder that the Cavaliers received in the Kyrie Irving trade won’t be known until much later in the season. If Brooklyn finishes last in the league again, the Cavs will have a 25% shot at the number one selection and their choice of players such as Michael Porter Jr., Luka Doncic and Marvin Bagley.

NBA Teams That Can’t Offer More Than The Minimum

At this point in the NBA offseason, most free agents who remain on the open market will have to settle for minimum salary contracts, if they receive an NBA offer at all.

There are some exceptions, particularly on the restricted free agent market, where Mason Plumlee just signed a three-year, $41MM deal with the Nuggets. Within the last week or two though, we’ve seen top remaining unrestricted free agents like Shabazz Muhammad, Tony Allen, and Andrew Bogut settle for minimum salary contracts.

That’s good news for several teams who have used all their available cap room and/or exceptions and can only offer minimum salary contracts for the rest of the 2017/18 league year. They won’t necessarily be at a disadvantage when it comes to signing free agents if those players aren’t being offered more than the minimum by teams with the means to do so.

In some cases though, an inability to offer more than the minimum can handicap a team. Dante Cunningham‘s free agent decision this week reflects this — according to multiple reports, the deal Cunningham agreed to with the Pelicans is actually worth $2.3MM, which is more than his minimum salary of $2.1MM. While we haven’t seen the official terms of Cunningham’s new contract yet, it’s possible that the $200K difference was one reason Cunningham chose New Orleans over a suitor like the Timberwolves, who could only offer the minimum.

Teams with the flexibility to offer more than the minimum could also benefit later in the NBA season. For instance, if Dwyane Wade negotiates a buyout with the Bulls and considers which team to join as a free agent, the fact that the Heat have retained their $4.328MM room exception could be a factor — it would allow Miami to make a stronger offer than the Cavs could.

With that in mind, here’s a breakdown of the teams that currently don’t have the ability to offer more than the minimum salary, which is $815,615 for a first-year player:

  • Boston Celtics
  • Detroit Pistons
  • Golden State Warriors
  • Houston Rockets: $350 of mid-level exception available
  • Los Angeles Clippers: $774,770 of mid-level exception available
  • Memphis Grizzlies: $1,440,385 of mid-level exception available, but will use at least $815,615 to sign Ivan Rabb.
  • Minnesota Timberwolves
  • New York Knicks
  • Oklahoma City Thunder

Meanwhile, the following teams have less than $3.29MM (the value of the bi-annual exception) to offer to free agents:

  • Cleveland Cavaliers: $2,549,143 of taxpayer mid-level exception available
  • Utah Jazz: $1,128,000 of room exception available
  • Washington Wizards: $1,902,000 of taxpayer mid-level exception available

Of course, just because a team has an exception available, that doesn’t mean the club will be eager to use it. Teams like the Bucks or Pelicans, for instance, still have various MLE and BAE exception money available, but their proximity to the luxury tax threshold will make them reluctant to offer more than the minimum salary to anyone the rest of the way.

For a full breakdown of how teams have used their mid-level, room, and bi-annual exceptions for the 2017/18 league year, be sure to check out our MLE tracker and BAE tracker.

Lue: Love Will be More Involved, But Not Necessarily Starting Center

  • Tyronn Lue won’t commit to Kevin Love as his starting center, though the Cavaliers coach said the UCLA product will be more involved in the offense this upcoming season.“Right now we’re just trying to get all of our pieces together and right now Tristan [Thompson]‘s our starter,” Lue tells Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. “I’m just thinking we’re going to run a lot more stuff through Kevin, more at the elbows, like we’ve done the last year and a half. Just trying to figure out with our new pieces and our new players and just see what works best for us.”
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