Prior to free agency, rumors swirled about how much the Cavaliers were willing to pay restricted free agent Collin Sexton.
Would it be $14-18 million, as the Cavs preferred?
Or would the figure exceed $20 million, as Sexton’s camp hoped?
And yet, both of those figures exceeded the $10-12 million that several league execs pegged as Sexton’s value.
But surely Sexton’s performance as a three-level scorer over his short tenure in Cleveland has warranted an extension of that $20 million.
We’re just headed for a prolonged negotiation that eventually sees Sexton get his bag.
Not so fast.
Cavs insider and Right Down Euclid contributor Evan Dammarell recently broke down Sexton’s situation.
And per Dammarell, another contract offer for Sexton might not be coming down the pike:
“According to sources, the latest offer to Sexton isn’t coming from a place of disrespect from the Cavaliers. It’s quite literally all they can offer since the same source has remained adamant that Cleveland isn’t looking to go into the luxury tax for their 2022-23 iteration. So, that offer for Sexton, which is roughly $13.3 million annually, is the absolute maximum the Cavaliers can offer him at this time.”
Cleveland’s luxury-tax reticence is fair.
The team is likely headed in that direction in the near future, with extensions for Caris LeVert, Isaac Okoro, and Evan Mobley ahead.
Collin Sexton reportedly sees himself as a starting two guard in the NBA, per ESPN pic.twitter.com/RxX7DAqU5x
— Cavaliers Nation (@WeAreCavsNation) August 1, 2022
So by Cleveland saving a little money now, the hope might be that the club can take on a greater payroll to retain its top players.
But does this mean there won’t be another offer sent Sexton’s way?
If so, that likely means one thing.
Sexton will take the $7.2 million qualifying offer and hit unrestricted free agency next summer.
Dammarell also noted that the Cavs can still clear some cap space by dumping contracts:
“Sure, [the price of a Sexton extension] can increase incrementally if Cleveland were to dump the contracts of fringe rotation guys like Cedi Osman ($7.4 million) or Dylan Windler ($4.0 million) via trade or they waive the non-guaranteed deals of Lamar Stevens ($1.8 million) or Dean Wade ($1.9 million). It feels more likely Osman or Windler are moved than Stevens or Wade, but there are options out there to make more room financially and roster-wise for Sexton. Either way, Sexton still likely isn’t going to get the deal he’s looking for from Cleveland no matter what moves they make on the margins.”
Moving on from Osman and Windler seems like two likely steps anyway.
The Cavs are currently maxed out on roster spots, so moving on from one of its two-guards makes sense.
Wait and See?
Let’s play out the scenario that sees Sexton take the qualifying offer.
The moment he signs that offer, his days in Cleveland are numbered.
It’s as simple as that.
Collin Sexton “isn’t a winning player” and “isn’t a valuable player archetype”
but Jordan Poole, Tyrese Maxey, and Tyler Herro are
— Brayden Todd (@BraydenBallin) July 24, 2022
For starters, the Cavs would have to fork over a ton of money the following summer, provided Sexton plays well enough to earn a larger deal.
But the Cavs also lose the right to match any contract offered to Sexton by other teams.
Sexton might look back on this negotiation with Cleveland and feel a lingering sense of disrespect.
If so, what’s stopping him from taking his talents to *insert any team with space next summer*?
The Cavs might try and trade Sexton during the season in order to recoup some value rather than let him leave for free, but which team is taking that risk?
Sexton could be traded midseason and very well walk out the door on his new team come July.
What we’re left with is a tricky situation for both the Cavs and Sexton.
Sexton likely isn’t getting his contract wish.
And the Cavs are possibly looking at losing a former high lottery pick for nothing.