Cavaliers Rumors

Cavaliers Excited For Important Games Down Season Stretch

At 20-37, the Cavaliers are 3.5 games behind the Bulls for the tenth seed  in the East. Should Cleveland make up that ground, the team would qualify for the play-in tournament this season. This would be the Cavs’ first postseason berth since making the NBA Finals in 2018.

The Cavaliers are playing important games late into the season again for the first time in years, writes Chris Fedor of

At 20-37, the Cavaliers are 3.5 games behind the Bulls for the tenth seed  in the East. Should Cleveland make up that ground, the team would qualify for the play-in tournament this season. This would be the Cavs’ first postseason berth since making the NBA Finals in 2018.

“We have guys who have not, I want this to come across the right way, but have not played meaningful games down the stretch in an NBA season,” Cavaliers head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “Obviously we have our group of guys who have played in the playoffs and those types of things, but we have young guys who haven’t experienced meaningful games at the end of a season.”

“We’re all in this cluster,” guard Darius Garland said of the competition among the Cavaliers, Bulls, Raptors and Wizards for the final play-in spot. “Every game matters right now. They’re in the cluster with us… They’ve got the 10th seed right now, they’ve got the target on their back.”

Contract Details: Deck, Stevens, Olynyk

The Thunder used the remainder of this year’s non-taxpayer mid-level exception — a little over $3.87MM — in Gabriel Deck‘s creatively constructed four-year contract, Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports tweets.

The remainder of Deck’s contract includes a non-guaranteed salary of $3,676,852 next season; a non-guaranteed $3,483,334 in 2022/23, with the guarantee kicking in if he’s on the roster after September 20, 2022; and a non-guaranteed $3,483,334 in the final season, including a team option. Assuming he plays out the contract – with the Thunder or another team – he’d be eligible for restricted free agency in 2023 or unrestricted free agency in 2024.

We have more contract-related news:

  • Lamar Stevens received more than triple of the prorated minimum, $652,366 rather than $203,043, from the Cavaliers for the remainder of the season, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets. However, the remainder of Stevens’ four-year contract offers no salary protections or guaranteed dates in any of the years.
  • Rockets big man Kelly Olynyk earned a $1MM incentive bonus after playing his 1,493rd minute this season, Marks tweets. Olynyk will be an unrestricted free agent after the season.
  • ICYMI, we broke down all the dead money teams are carrying on their caps this season, with the Pistons leading the pack. Check out our story here.

Central Notes: Bulls, Cavaliers, Gilbert, Joseph

The Bulls are 3-8 since adding five new players in two big trade-deadline moves. Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic assesses the players club’s new additions in an extensive piece.

Though All-Star center Nikola Vučević has produced offensively, the team is struggling to cling to the No. 10 seed (and thus a play-in tournament opportunity) in the East.

Vučević’s biggest weakness on offense is a low free throw rate, but otherwise he has been in line with expectations thus far. Daniel Theis, too, has been a helpful contributor right away. Troy Brown Jr. has shown flashes of promise, while Javonte Green and Al-Farouq Aminu have not cracked the team’s rotation, and have shown why when they have seen playing time.

There’s more out of the Central Division:

  • The Cavaliers anticipate that they will add a player via their newly-opened two-way player slot “soon,” reports Chris Fedor of Lamar Stevens held that spot until he was promoted to the 15-man roster this week.
  • Though Pistons point guard Cory Joseph looked like a throw-in as part of a trade deadline deal with the Kings that netted Detroit two second-round draft picks, he has turned into a helpful mentor for Detroit’s players, according to Rod Beard of The Detroit News. “Cory’s been through it,” head coach Dwane Casey said. “His style of play, his personality and his leadership, everything rubs off and he’s doing the same thing with Killian [Hayes] and Saben [Lee] and that group.” Joseph has also proven that he has something left in the tank, averaging 11.7 PPG and 6.1 APG since the deal.
  • Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert has bought out former majority owner Gordon Gund‘s remaining 15% minority share in the franchise, writes The AP’s Tom Withers“Gordon will remain part of the Cavaliers family and we thank him greatly for his leadership, dedication and long-standing support of the franchise,” the Cavaliers said in a statement.

Cavs Promote Lamar Stevens To 15-Man Roster

2:52pm: The Cavaliers have officially announced Stevens’ new multiyear contract, issuing a press release to confirm the deal.

11:51am: It’ll be a four-year deal for Stevens, according to Chris Fedor of (Twitter link), who says the contract won’t be guaranteed beyond this season and will include a fourth-year team option.

11:42am: The Cavaliers are signing forward Lamar Stevens to a multiyear NBA contract, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). Stevens is already on Cleveland’s roster, but only on a two-way deal. His new agreement with the team will give him a spot on the 15-man squad.

A rookie out of Penn State, Stevens has appeared in 37 games so far for the Cavs, averaging 4.4 PPG and 2.5 RPG in 13.1 minutes per contest. He’s also regarded as a strong defender, having told Hoops Rumors earlier this year that one of his goals is to eventually make the NBA’s All-Defensive team.

Cleveland currently has 13 players on full-season standard contracts, with Mfiondu Kabengele on a 10-day pact, so there’s an opening on the 15-man roster for Stevens. As such, no corresponding move will be required for his promotion.

The Cavaliers still have a portion of their mid-level exception available, so they could sign Stevens to a three- or four-year contract. Once it’s official, the move will open up a two-way slot for the Cavs, who could fill that opening with a developmental player before the end of the season.

Allen, Nance Back For Cavaliers Wednesday

Cavaliers big men Jarrett Allen and Larry Nance Jr. are expected to return to the floor for the club tomorrow against the Hornets, Chris Fedor of reports.

After incurring a concussion in a March 26 bout vs the Lakers, starting center Allen has been working through the NBA’s concussion protocols. A “mystery illness” befell forward Nance, who lost nearly 20 pounds during his absence, which began after his March 27 appearance vs. the Kings.

“We’re gonna have to make some tough decisions,” head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said of balancing his healthy frontcourt. Dean Wade and Kevin Love have been the starters with Allen and Nance out, and Isaiah Hartenstein has been played alongside the other two in ultra-big lineups.

“We’ve got to make some decisions that are best for the short term, and then some decisions that are best for the long term,” Bickerstaff continued. “Obviously we’ve got to find ways to get Larry and Jarrett back on the floor.”

Cavaliers Notes: Allen, Nance, Dellavedova, Prince

Cavaliers big men Jarrett Allen and Larry Nance Jr. have resumed basketball-related activities on a limited basis and may be ready to play next week, according to Chris Fedor of Both players were able to work out during a practice session Friday.

Allen has been sidelined since suffering a concussion in a March 26 game. He missed his seventh consecutive game tonight and isn’t expected to play Sunday. Sources tell Fedor he may return Wednesday at Charlotte if he continues to progress through the league’s concussion protocol.

Nance has missed the past four games while fighting the effects of an unknown illness that resulted in a loss of about 20 pounds and forced him to be bedridden. A source told Fedor that Nance is “close to feeling like himself once again.” The team is also looking at a Wednesday return for Nance if his recovery continues. The Cavs will practice Tuesday before making a final decision on either player.

There’s more from Cleveland:

  • Matthew Dellavedova‘s return has given Cleveland the backup point guard it has been lacking all season, Fedor writes in a separate story. Dellavedova, who missed 47 games due to a concussion, whiplash, and an emergency appendectomy, is averaging a modest 2.3 points and 5.5 assists through four games, but his plus-minus rating is at plus-29 in 70 minutes. “Delly really does a great job of playing with his brain,” coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. “He understands how to set the table for other people. His game isn’t based on himself. When your game is based on the team and making your teammates’ job easier, it makes … your comeback a little bit easier.” The Cavs signed Yogi Ferrell and Quinn Cook to 10-day contracts to try to fill Dellavedova’s role, but neither was kept on the roster.
  • Forward Taurean Prince will likely need ankle surgery once the season is done, Fedor tweets. Acquired in a January trade, Prince has one more year on his contract at $13MM.
  • Cavaliers players, coaches and staff members received COVID-19 shots March 30, Fedor adds in another piece. Because it was the Johnson & Johnson version, they won’t have to schedule a second dose, except for Bickerstaff, who got a Moderna shot before the others became available.

Cavaliers Sign Mfiondu Kabengele To 10-Day Deal

APRIL 10: The 10-day contract for Kabengele is official, the Cavaliers announced in a press release on Saturday.

APRIL 9: Free agent big man Mfiondu Kabengele will sign a 10-day contract with the Cavaliers, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

The 23-year-old Kabengele played 23 games for the Clippers this season before being traded last month to the Kings, who released him three days later. He appeared in 35 total games in two seasons with L.A., averaging just 4.5 minutes per night. He was the 27th pick in 2019, and the Clippers acquired him in a draft-night trade with the Nets.

The signing will take place on Saturday, according to Chris Fedor of (Twitter link), who adds that the Cavaliers considered drafting Kabengele in 2019.

Cleveland has two open roster spots, so another move won’t be needed to add Kabengele, who will earn $99,020 on the 10-day deal.

Central Notes: Nance, Bey, Vucevic, Bulls

Cavaliers big man Larry Nance Jr. hasn’t suited up for the team since March 27, but he’s starting to feel better after having dealt with an undetermined illness that caused rapid weight loss and left him bedridden, sources tell Chris Fedor of

None of the tests that Nance was administered in an attempt to identify his illness have come back positive, including COVID-19 tests, writes Fedor. A source tells that the 28-year-old lost nearly 20 pounds and had a hard time keeping food down while he battled the illness.

Although Nance is improving, he’ll miss Thursday’s game and may not play on Saturday or Sunday either, according to Fedor, who says the training staff wants him to regain some of his lost weight and build his stamina back up before he returns to game action.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • Following Saddiq Bey‘s 25-point showing on Tuesday in Denver, Pistons head coach Dwane Casey reiterated a point that he and GM Troy Weaver have made before, referring to the rookie as a long-term keeper.He’s an NBA starter for us and part of our building blocks,” Casey said of the young forward (Twitter link via Rod Beard of The Detroit News). Detroit gave up Luke Kennard and several second-round picks to land Bey in the 2020 draft.
  • In his early days with the Bulls, Nikola Vucevic is looking like the sidekick that Zach LaVine and the club have long needed, writes Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic.
  • While he’s not particularly high on the team’s playoff chances this season, Michael Pina of makes the case for why the Bulls‘ future looks bright. Meanwhile, K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago fields a number of questions on the Bulls’ future in his latest mailbag, suggesting that Coby White still looks like part of the long-term core, even if the club is likely to pursue a point guard in the offseason.

Free Agency Notes: Cap Room, Kawhi, DeRozan, Paul

In an early look at the NBA’s 2021 free agent period, Sam Amick and John Hollinger of The Athletic write that three NBA teams – the Knicks, Thunder, and Spurs – project to have more than enough cap room for a maximum-salary contract this offseason, even if they were to win the draft lottery.

Besides those clubs, the Mavericks and Hornets should be among the clubs with the most space, according to Amick and Hollinger. The Athletic’s duo projects Dallas to be about $35MM below the cap if Josh Richardson opts out, while Charlotte will have about $26MM of room.

Other teams could create cap room, but that will hinge on one or two major roster decisions. For instance, the Raptors could get up to about $25MM in space, but not if they intend to re-sign Kyle Lowry. The Suns (Chris Paul) are in a similar position, with the Heat, Grizzlies, Pelicans, Hawks, Cavaliers, Bulls, and Pistons among the other teams whose cap space – or lack thereof – will depend on what happens with certain free agents.

Here’s more from Amick and Hollinger on 2021 free agency:

  • Although Kawhi Leonard projects to be the top free agent on the market this summer, team sources and rival executives widely expect him to re-sign with the Clippers, per The Athletic. It’s possible that could change if Los Angeles exits the postseason early, but there’s no indication at this point that Leonard’s free agency will be as dramatic as it was in 2019.
  • A source with knowledge of DeMar DeRozan‘s outlook tells The Athletic he’ll take a “wide open” approach to free agency. That doesn’t necessarily rule out a new deal with the Spurs, though a March report suggested DeRozan has interest in playing elsewhere next season and perhaps returning to the Eastern Conference.
  • Amick and Hollinger believe both DeRozan and Paul will keep Jrue Holiday‘s new four-year deal ($135MM guaranteed, $25MM in incentives) very much in mind when they negotiate their next contracts. However, it’s not a perfect comparable for either player, since Paul is five years older than Holiday and DeRozan isn’t the defender that Holiday is.

Heat, Warriors, Raptors Among Teams Needing To Add 14th Man

As we detailed last week, a number of teams dipped below the NBA’s required minimum of 14 players (not counting two-way contracts) with their moves leading up to the trade deadline. Teams are only permitted to drop below 14 players for up to two weeks.

Since then, the Pelicans (Isaiah Thomas) and Knicks (Norvel Pelle) have added a 14th man to their respective rosters to get back up to that minimum, but a handful of teams still need to make roster moves this week.

[RELATED: 2020/21 NBA Roster Counts]

First up is the Clippers, who face a Monday deadline for signing a 14th man. By all accounts, that player will be DeMarcus Cousins, who has been going through the coronavirus protocols in advance of signing a 10-day contract with Los Angeles.

Like the Clippers, the Trail Blazers appear to have a 14th man lined up already, as word broke last Friday that they’ve struck a deal with free agent forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. That deal still isn’t official, but Portland has until Thursday to finalize it, so there’s plenty of time to get it done.

Three other teams face a Thursday deadline for filling one of the two current openings on their 15-man rosters — the Heat, Warriors, and Raptors all must sign a player by then.

All three of those teams have players on two-way contracts who could be candidates for promotions to the main roster, including Max Strus (Miami), Juan Toscano-Anderson (Golden State), Nico Mannion (Golden State), and Yuta Watanabe (Toronto). However, those clubs could also opt to bring in outside free agents and keep their two-way players where they are.

For the time being, the only other team to watch on this front is the Cavaliers. Since Quinn Cook‘s second 10-day contract expired last Wednesday night, Cleveland has been carrying just 13 players on standard deals. It doesn’t sound like the Cavs will re-sign Cook, but they’ll need to sign someone to fill his vacated roster spot — unlike the teams mentioned above though, Cleveland won’t need to add a 14th man until next week.