Patrick McCaw

Patrick McCaw Explains Why He Left Warriors

One of the more bizarre stories this season has been Patrick McCaw‘s odyssey. The Warriors wanted to re-sign the reserve guard but McCaw played hardball with them. He eventually signed a non-guaranteed offer sheet with the Cavaliers. His stay in Cleveland was brief and he later signed for the remainder of the season with the Raptors.

With his current team set to play his former team in the Finals, McCaw spoke at length with Marc Spears of The Undefeated about why he chose that path.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • McCaw wanted to have a bigger role. “I just wanted more. Not necessarily more playing time, but more opportunity for myself. I’m not discrediting the Warriors and what they chose to do. I just think being a young kid, you see all the younger guys competing and doing their thing and you feel like, ‘OK, I’m just that kid, or I could be doing exactly what he’s doing.’ ”
  • His agents at the time, Marlon Harrison and Bill Duffy, urged him to accept Golden State’s two-year, $4MM offer but the restricted free agent but he wouldn’t budge. “Maybe I could just go back and finish, just go back for a year, see what happens, see where it took me,” McCaw said. “I just felt like once it got past preseason, I was just adamant about not going back. I was just stuck right there.”
  • There was a perception that Cleveland did him a favor by signing him to the offer sheet that the Warriors didn’t match, only to release him shortly thereafter. But McCaw denies that. “I didn’t like how the media portrayed it, like we had something (else) lined up already,” he said. “Yeah, that wasn’t the case at all.”
  • The personal reasons cited for McCaw’s absence during most of the Eastern Conference Finals was due to a family tragedy. His older brother, Jeffrey McCaw, died.

Free Agent Stock Watch 2019: Conference Finals

Every week, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents next offseason. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we take a look at players from the conference finals:

Patrick McCaw, Raptors, 23, SG (Down) — Signed to a one-year, $786K deal in 2019
McCaw’s season has been a head-scratcher. He leveraged his way out of Golden State, signed a non-guaranteed offer sheet with Cleveland, got cut loose shortly thereafter and then signed a minimum contract with Toronto. He may get his wish to be an unrestricted free agent this summer, but no one will be knocking down his door on July 1. He suffered a thumb injury late in the regular season, was ineffective in some postseason appearances, and has missed the last couple of games for “personal reasons.” McCaw might not even find a guaranteed offer this summer.

George Hill, Bucks, 33, SG (Up) – Signed to a three-year, $57MM deal in 2017
Hill’s $18MM salary becomes guaranteed if he’s still on the roster July 1. The Bucks have too many free agent concerns to bring him back at that number, but Hill has reinforced that he’s a solid rotation player after a disappointing regular season. Hill averaged 14.2 PPG in the conference semis against Boston. Throwing out his Game 1 clunker against Toronto and he’s averaged 13.5 PPG, 6.3 RPG and 2.0 APG over the past four games, hitting some clutch baskets along the way. He’ll attract attention on the open market, though he’ll have to settle for less than his previous deal.

Alfonzo McKinnie, Warriors, 26, SF (Up) – Signed to a two-year, $2.7MM deal in 2018
Seems like every role player that coach Steve Kerr has thrown out there in the postseason has provided some quality minutes. McKinnie certainly fits that description. He was getting here-and-there minutes, then became more valuable with Kevin Durant sidelined. He grabbed nine rebounds in 21 minutes in Game 3 against Portland, then contributed 12 points in the clinching overtime victory in Game 4. McKinnie has a non-guaranteed salary next year but it’s difficult to see him getting cut loose considering the Warriors need to surround their stars with low-cost options. He can be a restricted free agent in 2020 if he receives a qualifying offer.

Enes Kanter, Trail Blazers, 27, C (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $653K deal in 2019
Kanter rode the roller coaster during the playoffs. The Blazers would have never made it to the Western Conference finals without him in the wake of Jusuf Nurkic‘s injury. Following Game 1 against the Warriors though, Kanter saw limited minutes as coach Terry Stotts opted to ride stretch four Meyers Leonard. Kanter’s ability to put up numbers earned him a big contract with the Thunder — recall he was making $18.6MM this season before working out a buyout with the Knicks. But his defensive deficiencies are also apparent in today’s NBA. It will interesting to see how much executives value his positives on the open market.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Injury Notes: Embiid, Richardson, McCaw

Joel Embiid will miss the next three games for the Sixers, starting with tonight’s tilt against the Timberwolves, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets. The move to leave Embiid home during the three-game road trip is part of pre-determined maintenance.

Embiid missed time following the All-Star break with knee soreness and other players, such as Jimmy Butler and Ben Simmons, have also missed time because of injury and rest concerns. As a result, the team’s starting five has only played in 10 games together this season, as I detailed last week.

Here’s more injury notes from around the league:

  • Heat coach Eric Spoelstra said there is no timetable for Josh Richardson (left heel) to return to action, as Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald relays on Twitter. Spoelstra added that he doesn’t believe Richardson is done for the season.
  • Patrick McCaw will be in a splint for approximately three weeks, according to a Raptors press release. He will be re-evaluated at that time.
  • Kyrie Irving and Al Horford will both miss tonight’s contest against the Nets, Tim Bontemps of ESPN.com passes along. Irving’s nursing a sore back while Horford has a sore left knee. Neither player is expected to miss an extended period of time for the Celtics.

Warriors Notes: Offseason, Cousins, McCaw

Within an article looking ahead to the Warriors‘ offseason plans, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst cites sources who say that the franchise is internally projecting a nine-figure increase in revenue when it moves to the Chase Center in San Francisco next season. In other words, Golden State won’t hesitate to re-sign Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson to lucrative new deals even if it pushes the club way into luxury-tax territory for the next few years.

Of course, while Thompson is considered a strong bet to stick with the Warriors, there’s no guarantee that Durant will follow suit, so Windhorst’s article focuses in large part on what the front office’s Plan B will be if Durant signs elsewhere. As Windhorst outlines, retaining Thompson is a must in that scenario, and it might make sense for the Dubs to take a long look at Draymond Green‘s future. Green will be eligible for free agency in 2020 and will likely be seeking a substantial raise, so Golden State may want to decide in advance whether it makes sense to invest in him long-term.

Here’s more on the Warriors:

  • DeMarcus Cousins remains on track to make his Warriors debut this Friday in Los Angeles, head coach Steve Kerr confirmed on Tuesday (Twitter link via Anthony Slater of The Athletic). Cousins is expected to immediately slide into the starting lineup at the five upon his return from an Achilles tear.
  • Even before he began his rehabilitation, Cousins spent time talking to a number of current and former NBA players who suffered Achilles tears to learn how to best approach his recovery and healing process, writes Mark Medina of The Bay Area News Group. “I wasn’t really looking for a specific answer to get through it,” Cousins said. “I wanted to see what each guy’s mindset was and compare it to my own.”
  • After the Warriors lost Patrick McCaw to the Cavaliers – and then the Raptors – Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic took a deep dive into McCaw’s time in Oakland to try to pin down exactly why the young wing wanted to leave. According to Thompson, the first issue that harmed McCaw’s trust in the Warriors was when they brought in Nick Young during 2017’s free agent period and declared an open competition for the backup shooting guard spot, since he felt he had earned those minutes with his play in 2016/17.

NBA Concludes McCaw Investigation, Finds No CBA Violations

The NBA announced today in a press release that it has concluded its investigation into the Cavaliers‘ signing – and subsequent release – of Patrick McCaw. According to the announcement, the league found that there was no violation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, including the anti-circumvention rules.

McCaw, the final restricted free agent of 2018’s class, held out for most of the first half of the season before signing a two-year, $6MM offer sheet with the Cavaliers. The offer sheet was non-guaranteed, but was signed just a week and a half before all salaries for 2018/19 would become guaranteed — if the Warriors had matched, they would have had to pay McCaw his full $3MM salary for this season or waive him within about a week, putting him in line for unrestricted free agency.

Golden State opted not to match the offer sheet, so McCaw became a Cavalier. However, his stint in Cleveland only lasted for about a week, as the Cavs released him before the league-wide salary guarantee deadline. The third-year shooting guard subsequently signed a minimum salary contract with the Raptors once he became an unrestricted free agent.

Once the Cavs parted ways with McCaw, it looked suspiciously like the team had done his agent a solid, paving the way for the 23-year-old to become an unrestricted free agent. It also didn’t hurt that Cleveland’s series of transactions cost the rival Warriors an asset.

The NBA looked into the matter and could have levied fines or lost-draft-pick penalties on the Cavs if there was evidence of wrongdoing, but that outcome was always unlikely. Given their injury-ravaged roster, the Cavs had a clear motive for signing McCaw. And given his poor audition for the team – 1.7 PPG on 22.2% shooting in three games (17.7 MPG) – Cleveland also had an obvious motive for moving on from him last week.

Even though the Cavs have been cleared in this instance, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the league and the players’ union revisits this issue at some point. ESPN’s Bobby Marks suggests (via Twitter) that it might make sense, in the next CBA, to require the first year of offer sheets to be fully guaranteed. Another option, per Marks, would be to prohibit a player from re-signing with the team that waives him after signing him to a non-guaranteed offer sheet (ie. McCaw would have been ineligible to re-sign with the Cavs after being cut).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Atlantic Notes: Porzingis, Kurucs, McCaw, Tsai

Kristaps Porzingis has missed nearly an entire calendar year since he suffered a torn ACL but his recovery is going well, Newsday’s Steve Popper writes. The Latvian is expected to miss the Knicks‘ four-day trip to London next week when the team faces the Wizards, but Porzingis’ recent practices have been encouraging.

“I don’t see a drop,” head coach David Fizdale said. “That I don’t see. I haven’t seen him move in a way that makes me go “uh-oh.” I think we’re going about it the right way. His body looks great. He looks strong, he’s defined. It’s just a matter of time, and when we get him, we’ll be happy.”

As we relayed on Friday, Porzingis has passed the point of meeting the starter criteria for restricted free agency this summer. Thus, the Knicks’ qualifying offer drops from $7.5MM to $4.5MM. His cap hold will be $17.1MM and he will qualify for a $158MM contract over five years with a starting salary set at $27.25MM.

The Knicks, currently 10-32 in the Eastern Conference, are setting themselves up for a top-five draft pick this summer. A healthy Porzingis would go a long way to helping New York compete next season.

Check out more Atlantic Division notes:

  • Fellow Latvian Rodions Kurucs has fared well for the Nets after being selected 40th overall in the second round this past summer. Kurucs has been solid on both sides of the ball and eclipsed both his and the team’s expectations, Chris Milholen and Net Income of NetsDaily write.
  • Patrick McCaw‘s first few months of the season have been eventful. He sat out the start of the year as he looked to maximize his earnings from the Warriors as an RFA, then signed an offer sheet with Cleveland. However, days later, the Cavaliers waived him. After signing with the Raptors, he’s thrilled with the new opportunity, Laura Armstrong of The Toronto Star writes.
  • Nets minority owner Joseph Tsai is reportedly close to acquiring the WNBA’s New York Liberty, the AP’s Doug Fienberg reports. Tsai purchased 49% of the Nets in April 2018 and the James Dolan-owned Liberty — which were placed for sale in November 2017 — are close to being added to his portfolio.

Atlantic Notes: Hezonja, McCaw, Sixers, Morris

Mario Hezonja is seeing fewer minutes on the court this season with the Knicks, but that hasn’t stopped the 23-year-old from enjoying his time in New York, Steve Popper of Newsday relays. Hezonja is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1.

“No, no, no. I love New York. As I said, this coaching staff, I wish I had them in my rookie year,” Hezonja said. “I’m not saying anything about what I had. It was just rough and unfortunate situation what happened to me. I wish they were my coaching staff in my rookie year. We’d be talking a different story right now. 

“Yeah, I’m happy to be around them. Even when I wasn’t playing, I just said, how important they were for me and how much room I still have for growth, for learning the game and all that stuff, so it’s big time for me. I love this team. I love everybody over here. I was surprised as soon as I came here. I’m focusing only on here. This is not a typical BS talk. ‘I’m only thinking about this, I don’t know what it’s gonna be.’ I know. This is it. I love this. I want to be in New York.”

Along with Hezonja, other Knicks players set to reach unrestricted free agency this summer include Enes KanterNoah Vonleh and Trey Burke. Hezonja is averaging 7.6 points and 17.8 minutes per game on the season, shooting 40% from the floor and an underwhelming 29% from 3-point range.

New York is reportedly exploring trades for several players ahead of the Feb. 7 deadline, but Hezonja’s name has yet to surface as a candidate.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division today:

  • Blake Murphy of The Athletic examines how the NBA’s roster rules brought the Raptors to sign Patrick McCaw as a free agent. The Cavaliers waived McCaw days after signing him in restricted free agency, allowing him to become an unrestricted free agent and sign with any team. McCaw is expected to provide backcourt depth for the Raptors as they ready themselves for a deep postseason run.
  • The Sixers still hope to re-sign Jimmy Butler this summer despite the team’s recent drama, ESPN’s Zach Lowe writes. Lowe provided details on Butler’s comments to Brett Brown at a recent 76ers film session, with Butler reportedly speaking up for himself and teammate T.J. McConnell. McConnell, who’s averaging 20.7 minutes per game, also voiced his concerns during the session when Brown asked if anyone else had something to add, Lowe notes.
  • Celtics forward Marcus Morris relayed the importance of winning as his major long-term focus, according to A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports. Morris, who’s making $5.3MM this season, is also set to become a free agent this summer. “That’s all I care about; winning,” Morris said. “That other stuff, the big-money contract, being in the conversation for All-Star, none of that happens if you’re not winning. So for me, that’s what all this is about, keeping finding ways to win.”

Raptors Sign Patrick McCaw

JANUARY 10: Patrick McCaw has officially signed his one-year contract with the Raptors, according to the NBA’s transactions log. McCaw was waived by the Cavaliers on Monday, allowing him to enter unrestricted free agency and sign with any team.

JANUARY 9: Shooting guard Patrick McCaw will sign with the Raptors, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. McCaw, who cleared waivers today, will receive a one-year deal worth $786K, the pro-rated amount of the veterans’ minimum, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

The signing will end an eventful two-week odyssey for McCaw that will eventually leave him right where he started. Because he is set to sign a one-year contract, he will become a restricted free agent again at the end of the season if the Raptors submit a qualifying offer, and the team will be able to match any offer he receives.

McCaw had been waiting for a contract since July, but nothing materialized until December 28 when the Cavaliers signed him to a non-guaranteed offer sheet worth $6MM over two years. The Warriors elected not to match, sending him to Cleveland, but only for a few days. The Cavs waived McCaw on Sunday, paying him about $323K for his brief stay with the team.

McCaw spent his first two NBA seasons with Golden State, but turned down a qualifying offer from the team over the summer and a subsequent two-year, $5.2MM offer with only a guarantee on the first year. That still would have paid him substantially more than he will make in about a half season with the Cavs and Raptors. McCaw explained that he didn’t want to re-sign with the Warriors because he was seeking “a new opportunity.”

The NBA plans to review the unusual way that Cleveland handled the McCaw situation. There are accusations that the Cavaliers circumvented the salary cap, signing McCaw only so he could have a path toward unrestricted free agency with no intention of keeping him. The franchise faces fines or a loss of draft picks if the league determines something inappropriate happened. McCaw played just three games during his time in Cleveland, averaging 1.7 PPG.

The expected signing will bring Toronto back to the league minimum of 14 players and increase the team’s projected luxury tax bill by $2.56MM to $34.74MM, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link). The bill was at $34.5MM before Lorenzo Brown was waived on Monday.

NBA To Talk With McCaw’s Representatives

The NBA will speak to representatives for Patrick McCaw tomorrow as part of its investigation into whether the Cavaliers acted improperly in signing him to a non-guaranteed offer sheet and waiving him shortly afterward, writes Mark Medina of The San Jose Mercury News.

McCaw spent barely a week with Cleveland and appeared in three games after agreeing to a two-year, $6MM offer sheet that the Warriors elected not to match. Cleveland didn’t guarantee any money in the offer, so the club was only on the hook for about $323K. The decision to release him a day before this season’s $3MM salary would have guaranteed led to accusations that the Cavs only gave McCaw the offer as a way to make him an unrestricted free agent and give him a way out of Golden State.

Shortly after clearing waivers today, McCaw agreed to join the Raptors on a veteran’s minimum contract for the rest of the season. His representatives contacted about eight other teams before settling on the deal with Toronto, according to Medina.

The Cavaliers face severe penalties, including fines and possible loss of draft picks, if the league determines they violated the collective bargaining agreement. However, their recent roster chaos gives them a strong defense, contends Joe Vardon of The Athletic.

Cleveland had just nine healthy players on December 28 when it extended the offer sheet to McCaw. One of the starters that night was two-way player Jaron Blossomgame, while fellow two-way player Jalen Jones was on the bench. The Cavs needed extra wing players because Rodney Hood was sidelined with Achilles soreness and David Nwaba was out with lower leg injuries.

During McCaw’s first game in Cleveland, Matthew Dellavedova was injured while stepping on another player’s foot, leaving the team without a backup point guard. The Cavaliers bolstered that position by waiving McCaw and signing former Bull Cameron Payne.

“I don’t think it was as much what didn’t happen [with McCaw], it was really mostly what we needed,” coach Larry Drew said. “With Delly going down, we really didn’t have a backup point. I had to throw Alec [Burks] in there as backup point, and that wasn’t really fair to him. So we made the decision.”

Vardon adds that under the circumstances, it would be difficult to build a strong case against the franchise unless McCaw or agent Bill Duffy admits that an under-the-table agreement was in place.

NBA To Review Patrick McCaw’s Deal With Cavaliers

The NBA plans on formally reviewing the Cavaliers‘ signing and waiving of Patrick McCaw for possible salary cap circumvention, Mark Stein of The New York Times reports.

McCaw was a restricted free agent sitting under Warriors team control through most of the season as he sat out and waited for an offer from a rival club. The Cavaliers presented him with a two-year, $6MM offer sheet, which was non-guaranteed, and Golden State chose not to match it, leaving McCaw to join Cleveland.

The swingman was with the team less than a week before he was released, and some around the league suspect the move was designed to help McCaw get out from under the Warriors’ control rather than the Cavaliers actually wanting him on the team. Stein adds that the Warriors requested the investigation.

Stein notes that NBA teams are not allowed to make “unauthorized agreements” based on “expressed or implied” deals or include “promises, undertakings, representations, commitments, inducements, assurances of intent, or understandings of any kind” with respect to player contracts. Penalties can include fines in the $3-6MM range and could cost a team draft picks.

However, unless the Cavs or agent Bill Duffy tell the NBA that the two sides intentionally entered their agreement in an effort to eventually get McCaw to free agency, it seems unlikely that the league will come down hard on Cleveland. As Joe Vardon of The Athletic observes, the Cavs have a good alibi for taking a flier on McCaw, in the form of a “roster in shambles.”

The Cavs have expressed interest in re-signing McCaw to a cheaper deal if he clears waivers. He made roughly $323K during his brief stint in Cleveland.