Cavaliers Rumors

Cavaliers, Raul Neto Agree To One-Year Deal

Free agent point guard Raul Neto is signing with the Cavaliers, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). Neto will receive a one-year, minimum-salary contract, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com (Twitter link).

Neto, 30, spent the last seasons in D.C. as a backup point guard for the Wizards and acquitted himself well, averaging 8.1 PPG, 2.7 APG, and 2.2 RPG on .465/.349/.819 shooting in 134 total games (20.7 MPG). The seven-year veteran previously spent time with the Jazz and Sixers.

The Cavaliers reached an agreement on Friday to bring back veteran point guard Ricky Rubio to back up All-Star Darius Garland, but Rubio is recovering from a torn ACL and is unlikely to be ready to play this fall.

While Rubio works his way back, Neto should get a chance to be Garland’s primary backup. He’ll presumably shift a spot down the depth chart when Rubio returns.

In addition to agreeing to terms with Rubio and Neto today, the Cavaliers struck a minimum-salary deal with center Robin Lopez, as they continue to add veteran depth to complement their core.

Eastern Notes: Cavs, Rubio, Tsai, Bucks, Papagiannis, Bridges

The Cavaliersagreement with Ricky Rubio remains flexible and could eventually become a sign-and-trade with the Pacers, sources tell Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Rubio, who suffered a torn left ACL last December, isn’t expected to be able to play for the first two or three months of the season, so the Cavs want to explore other point guard options.

If they do a sign-and-trade with Rubio, they’d be able to use their $10.4MM mid-level exception to address that area, and Fedor suggests that another signing could be reported sometime this weekend.

Bringing back Rubio was “Plan A” for the team, Fedor adds, after he helped fuel a surprising rise to contention last season. Serving as a veteran component in a young backcourt, Rubio averaged 13.1 points, 4.1 rebounds and 6.6 assists in 34 games before the injury. Cleveland was 20-14 with Rubio last season, but only 24-24 when he didn’t play.

There’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Nets owner Joe Tsai is fed up with the drama surrounding the organization and won’t mind parting with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, according to Joe Vardon of The Athletic. Vardon notes that Tsai has been willing to pay the luxury tax in the three seasons since Durant and Irving arrived, but he hasn’t gotten much in return, with just one playoff series win in that time. Other distractions, such as the coaching change involving Kenny Atkinson, the trades to acquire and then unload James Harden, the addition of Ben Simmons when he wasn’t ready to play, and Irving’s refusal to get vaccinated have all tested Tsai’s patience, Vardon adds.
  • The Bucks have some interest in former first-round pick Georgios Papagiannis, tweets Dionysis Aravantinos of HoopsHype. The Greek center fizzled out quickly after being selected at No. 13 in the 2016 draft — playing 38 games for the Kings and one for the Trail Blazers — but he has been a star in Europe, earning a spot on the All-EuroLeague Second Team this year. Papagiannis is still under contract to Panathinaikos, so Milwaukee would have to arrange a buyout, but Aravantinos doesn’t see that as an obstacle.
  • The wife of Hornets forward Miles Bridges has posted several photographs showing injuries that she says were caused when he attacked her this week, as Amy Woodyatt and Jacob Lev of CNN write. Bridges was arrested on Wednesday and charged with felony domestic violence. His next court date is scheduled for July 20, per CNN’s report.

Cavaliers To Sign Robin Lopez

The Cavaliers have agreed to a one-year deal with free agent center Robin Lopez, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). It’s a minimum-salary contract for Lopez, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link).

Lopez is coming off a one-year, $5MM deal with the Magic. The 34-year-old was effective in a limited role in Orlando, but was in and out of the rotation as the club focused on developing young bigs Wendell Carter and Mohamed Bamba.

In 36 games (17.0 MPG), Lopez averaged 7.1 PPG, 3.5 RPG, and 1.5 APG on 55.3% shooting. The former 15th overall pick is valued by NBA teams in large part due to his willingness and ability to do the dirty work on both ends of the court, including setting good screens and effectively boxing out rebounders.

Lopez will provide some depth and veteran leadership in a Cavaliers frontcourt headed by All-Star center Jarrett Allen and promising youngster Evan Mobley.

Cavaliers, Ricky Rubio Agree To Three-Year Deal

The Cavaliers have reached an agreement to bring back free agent point guard Ricky Rubio on a three-year, $18.4MM contract, sources tell Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). The third year will be partially guaranteed, per Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link).

Based on the financial details reported by Haynes, it appears Cleveland will use a portion of its mid-level exception to sign Rubio. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link) was the first to report the two sides were nearing a deal.

Cleveland acquired Rubio from Minnesota in a 2021 offseason trade and he played a key role in the Cavs’ first-half success this past season. Despite serving primarily as a reserve, the 31-year-old averaged a career-high 13.1 PPG to go along with 6.6 APG and 4.1 RPG in 34 games (28.5 MPG).

However, Rubio’s season came to an early end when he tore his left ACL in December. The Cavs subsequently used his expiring contract as a salary-matching piece in their trade for Caris LeVert, resulting in Rubio finishing the season with the Pacers.

There had been reports throughout the offseason indicating that there was mutual interest in a reunion between the Spaniard and the Cavs — that reunion has now come to fruition.

ACL tears can sideline NBA players for a full calendar year or more, and even when they return to the court, it often takes them some time to get back to full speed, so expectations for Rubio in 2022/23 – especially in the first half – should be tempered.

Given that Cleveland agreed to a three-year deal though, it seems as if the team is counting on him to be around for the long haul and will be patient as he recovers from his knee injury and gets his feet back under him.

Once Rubio is healthy, he figures to once again slot into the backup point guard role behind All-Star guard Darius Garland.

Extensions Imminent For Jokic, Booker, Towns, Morant, More

Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, Suns guard Devin Booker, Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns, and Grizzlies guard Ja Morant are all expected to reach verbal agreements with their respective teams on new long-term contract extensions soon after the NBA’s new league year begins tonight, according to Marc Stein (Twitter link).

Pelicans forward Zion Williamson and Cavaliers guard Darius Garland are also “widely expected” to receive extensions this offseason, Stein notes (via Twitter).

Morant, Williamson, and Garland will be eligible for rookie scale extensions, with the exact figures yet to be determined. Rookie scale extensions are available for former first-round picks entering their fourth seasons. The three players’ offers will likely include Rose Rule language that allows them to earn a starting salary of up to 30% of the 2023/24 salary cap (instead of 25%) if they meets certain performance criteria.

Even though Morant, for example, earned an All-NBA spot this year, he would have to make an All-NBA team again next season to qualify for the higher max — the Rose Rule criteria require a player to make All-NBA in either the season before his new contract goes into effect or in two of the three prior seasons.

Williamson’s extension could take a little longer to figure out, given that he’s appeared in just 85 career games and missed all of last season after setbacks following foot surgery last summer. Still, Pelicans executive VP of basketball operations David Griffin said he was “confident” that an agreement would be reached, the only question is how much money will be guaranteed up front.

Jokic, Booker, and Towns will all be eligible for super-max extensions, also known as Designated Veteran Extensions, worth up to 35% of the salary cap. At least one of the following must be a true for a player to be eligible for a Designated Veteran Extension:

  • He was named to an All-NBA team in the most recent season, or in two of the last three seasons.
  • He was named NBA MVP in any of the three most recent seasons.
  • He was named NBA Defensive Player of the Year in the most recent season, or in two of the last three seasons.

Booker and Towns both made All-NBA teams this past season, and Jokic was named the back-to-back MVP in addition to making All-NBA teams the past four seasons.

Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard is also likely to receive a two-year extension worth in excess of $100MM once the new league year begins, as relayed by Sean Highkin of The Rose Garden Report and Stein (Twitter links).

Free Agent Rumors: Bryant, Bridges, Cavs, Paschall, Suns

Veteran center Thomas Bryant, who will be an unrestricted free agent this week, is likely to leave the Wizards and sign with a new team, according to Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington, who tweets that Bryant is expected to have multiple suitors.

While Hughes’ report doesn’t name any specific teams that will pursue Bryant, a number of clubs around the NBA are believed to be in the market for a backup center, including the Bulls, Raptors, Knicks, and Lakers, among others.

Assuming Bryant departs, the Wizards would likely be in the market for a third center to join Kristaps Porzingis and Daniel Gafford on their depth chart, Hughes notes.

Here are a few more free agency updates from around the NBA:

  • Following Miles Bridgesarrest on domestic violence charges, the Hornets have put out a press release indicating that they’re aware of the situation. “We are in the process of gathering additional information,” the team said in its statement (Twitter link). “We will have no further comment at this time.”
  • In a lengthy look at the free agents the Cavaliers could consider this offseason, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com cites sources who say the team has been in touch with forward T.J. Warren‘s camp and remains interested in point guard Tyus Jones.
  • Confirming that Jazz forward Eric Paschall didn’t receive a qualifying offer to make him a restricted free agent, Tony Jones of The Athletic cites sources who say Paschall is expected to draw interest on the open market as an unrestricted FA.
  • Free agent big man Frank Kaminsky appears unlikely to return to the Suns, tweets John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7. Kaminsky, who was waived by Phoenix in April, missed most of the season due to a stress reaction in his right knee, which required surgery.
  • Gambadoro also tweets that he expects the Suns to have interest in unrestricted free agent wing Donte DiVincenzo.

Trade Rumors: Bulls, Collins, Gobert, Lakers, Hield, More

The Bulls are among the teams that have shown interest in Hawks big man John Collins, sources tell Matt Moore of Action Network. Moore also confirms that Boston and Sacramento are two of the other clubs that have registered some level of interest in Collins, as Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report said earlier today.

Chicago has been linked to a handful of frontcourt players so far this offseason, most notably Rudy Gobert. Moore writes that the Bulls remain in the mix for Gobert, but cautions that the Jazz‘s asking price will be “steep” and says any trade discussions involving the three-time Defensive Player of the Year could drag out, given Danny Ainge‘s reputation as a tough negotiator.

According to Moore, if Gobert is traded, the Bulls are probably the most likely landing spot, with the Timberwolves looming as a dark horse, but there’s no guarantee a deal will be made.

Here are a few more trade notes and rumors from Moore:

  • Moore reports that the Lakers have “circled back” to Pacers sharpshooter Buddy Hield after not trading for him a year ago. The Lakers have a clearer path to making an offer for Hield that doesn’t include Russell Westbrook‘s unwanted contract this summer than they did at the trade deadline, given that his salary declines from $23MM in 2021/22 to $21.2MM in ’22/23.
  • The Sixers are probably unlikely to find a taker for Tobias Harris, given the size of his contract, but Moore suggests the Kings are one team to watch on that front.
  • The Cavaliers aren’t looking to trade former lottery pick Isaac Okoro after drafting Ochai Agbaji, says Moore.
  • Moore suggests that the Raptors‘ asking price for OG Anunoby when the Trail Blazers pursued him around the time of the draft was believed to be the No. 7 pick, Josh Hart or Nassir Little, and a future first-round pick. Now that the draft has passed, Moore is skeptical that Anunoby will be on the move this summer.

Eastern Free Agent Rumors: Sexton, Bagley, Claxton, Hartenstein, Bridges

The Cavaliers are trying to re-sign Collin Sexton, but their first offer was short of what he’s hoping for, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report.

The free agent guard wants a new deal that averages about $20MM per year, sources tell Fischer, but Cleveland’s early offer in extension talks was below that number. Fischer says it was similar to Jordan Clarkson‘s “three-year, $51MM” deal, but Clarkson’s contract is actually worth $52MM over four years, so it’s unclear which of those figures was closer to Cleveland’s initial offer.

Sexton missed most of last season with a torn meniscus in his left knee. He was recently cleared for full basketball activities and should be ready for training camp.

There’s more on Eastern Conference free agents, all from Fischer:

  • Marvin Bagley III, who was acquired at the trade deadline, is expected to re-sign with the Pistons for more than $10MM per year. Fischer compares the expected deal to what the Hornets gave Kelly Oubre, which was two seasons at $24.6MM with a partial guarantee on the second year.
  • Fischer confirms a report that Nic Claxton will likely remain with the Nets, probably for an amount in the neighborhood of the full MLE.
  • The Bulls and Magic could be among the suitors for center Isaiah Hartenstein now that the Clippers are expected to give their full taxpayer MLE to John Wall. Chicago has been linked to several centers, but Fischer hears that the team would prefer not to use its entire non-taxpayer MLE of $10.1MM, so Hartenstein may be a lower-cost option. Rumors have emerged that Orlando may have interest in Hartenstein, but Fischer adds that he could also decide to remain in L.A. on a cheaper deal and hope to cash in later.
  • The Pacers are considering an offer for Hornets forward Miles Bridges, but Fischer says it’s not clear if Indiana is ready to hand out such a large contract. Fischer adds that the Grizzlies have been considered a “sleeper candidate” due to the presence of Jaren Jackson Jr., his former college teammate, but sources tell Fischer that Memphis isn’t expected to pursue Bridges.

QO Decisions: M. Brown, Coffey, Pinson, Two-Way FAs

The Cavaliers won’t be issuing a qualifying offer to free agent big man Moses Brown, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link). A qualifying offer for Brown would have been worth $2,076,674, but Cleveland will instead let him become an unrestricted free agent.

[RELATED: Hoops Rumors Glossary: Qualifying Offers]

Brown has bounced around the league since debuting in 2019, appearing in games for Portland, Oklahoma City, Dallas, and Cleveland. He has flashed some potential, averaging 6.0 PPG and 5.8 RPG in just 14.1 MPG in 92 career appearances, and could catch on with a new team this summer.

Here are a few more updates on qualifying offer decisions from around the NBA:

  • Clippers wing Amir Coffey has received a qualifying offer after earning a promotion to the team’s standard roster in 2021/22, per RealGM’s official NBA transactions log. Coffey’s QO projects to be worth $2,076,674 based on a $122MM salary cap and makes him a restricted free agent.
  • The Mavericks have issued two-way player Theo Pinson a qualifying offer, making him a restricted free agent, according to RealGM’s transactions log. Because Pinson is ineligible to sign another two-way contract, his QO will be worth his minimum salary (projected to be $1,941,833), including a small partial guarantee of $86,946. Dallas reportedly wants to have him on its 15-man roster this season.
  • The following players coming off two-way contracts have received qualifying offers and are now restricted free agents, according to RealGM’s transactions log: Hawks guard Sharife Cooper, Bulls forward Malcolm Hill, and Kings big man Neemias Queta. Those QOs would all be for new two-way deals, with partial guarantees worth $50K.
  • The Warriors extended a qualifying offer to former guard Nico Mannion, per RealGM. Mannion played for Virtus Bologna in Italy in 2021/22 after leaving the NBA last summer, but Golden State continues to hold his rights in the event that he returns stateside. He received a two-way qualifying offer with a $50K partial guarantee.

Central Notes: Pacers Rookies, Stephenson, Cavs’ Targets, Sexton, Garland

The Pacers wound up with three players in the draft — lottery pick Bennedict Mathurin and second-rounders Andrew Nembhard and Kendall Brown. Team president Kevin Pritchard has high hopes for the trio, Bob Kravitz of The Athletic writes.

“One of the things I’m absolutely convinced of, these three young men will be a part of this organization for a long time,” Pritchard said. “We wanted to get more athletic, more dynamic and bring some intelligence. All three demonstrated that athleticism and drive to win. The one common denominator is, they all love to play.”

We have more from the Central Division: