One name generally appears at the top of any Google search for “top remaining NBA free agents.”
The restricted free agent and recent Cavaliers lottery pick has had a summer (and really, 12 months) to forget.
The 2021-22 season was already a make-or-break one for Sexton, with the two-guard needing to take a big step to earn the massive contract extension he was looking for.
Unfortunately, a knee injury limited Sexton to just 11 games.
And now, with most teams’ cap space drying up like Lake Mead, Sexton is left with few options, and a return to Cleveland looks increasingly imminent.
What’s On The Table
At the dawn of free agency, the Cavaliers handed Sexton a $7.2 million qualifying offer that sent the guard to restricted free agency.
The move was supposed to be purely procedural.
But now, the offer is likely the best one on the table for Sexton.
That’s because his only other option is a three-year, $40 million extension, also offered by Cleveland.
That roughly $13.3 million per season deal is a far cry from the $18-22 million that Sexton hoped to make on the free agent market.
So how could it be that Sexton’s paltry $7.2 million is better than nearly twice that over a long-term deal?
Three words: unrestricted free agency.
Collin Sexton is healthy 😤😤😤
Via @thehoopdiamonds pic.twitter.com/jvVb6t72Qv
— Cavaliers Nation (@WeAreCavsNation) August 13, 2022
A qualifying offer is a single-year deal, with unrestricted free agency on the other side.
Essentially, Sexton could have a do-over prove-it season in 2022-23, with the chance to recoup any lost money by playing well.
The other option on the table is a holdout.
It’s something Sexton’s management, Klutch Sports, knows a thing or two about.
Last season, fellow Klutch client Ben Simmons sat out the entire first half of the season until a deal came together at the trade deadline for James Harden.
It speaks to the lengths Klutch will go to make sure their clients get the compensation they believe they deserve.
But a Sexton holdout?
Don’t hold your breath.
In a recent mailbag, Chris Fedor of cleveland.com fielded questions about this upcoming NBA season.
And one of the write-in questions revolved around a Sexton holdout:
“Question — Is it possible for Collin Sexton to hold out of training camp if a deal isn’t done by then?
“Sure. It’s possible. Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul is a tough negotiator. He fights hard for his clients. He’s been known to take these negotiations into — and beyond — training camp, which will begin in late September. But a holdout feels unlikely for Sexton. He is already a polarizing player and needs to rebuild his value following a significant knee injury that cost him all but 11 games. The only way to get the contract he wants (if he doesn’t get it from the Cavs this summer) is to show up and play well.”
Sexton no longer considering a holdout is a turnaround from his stance just a few weeks back.
In his last full-season (2020-21), Collin Sexton (24.3 PPG, 4.4 APG, 47.5% FG, 37.1% 3PT) was 1 of just 5 guards to average at least 24.0 PPG, 4.0 APG, 45.0% FG & shoot above 37.0% from deep. The others:
Rare company to be in. pic.twitter.com/pgLfbxEXP4
— Mack Perry (@DevaronPerry) August 9, 2022
Evan Dammarell of Right Down Euclid reported that Sexton’s camp was exploring the possibility of a holdout until the guard gets his deal.
But as Fedor noted, a holdout isn’t going to get Sexton any more money.
The Cavs aren’t bidding against anyone and teams simply don’t have the payroll to offer Sexton a big-dollar deal.
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