It’s almost August and Collin Sexton remains a restricted free agent.
Is it surprising that the guard hasn’t returned to the Cavaliers?
Is it surprising that, aside from two low-ball offers from the Cavs, Sexton hasn’t received a nibble of interest from around the league?
Slightly more so, yes.
Ahead of free agency, Sexton was looking for a deal in the $18-22 million range, while the Cavs were trying to keep things lower, in the $14-18 million range.
And it was expected that the Cavs would have a difficult decision on their hands if one of the teams with rumored interest in Sexton ponied up $20 million or more.
So much for that.
No difficult decisions have been forced in Cleveland.
And as it stands, Sexton has just two offers on the table, both from the Cavs.
The first is the initial one-year, $7.2 million qualifying offer extended to Sexton ahead of free agency.
The second was a recently reported three-year, $40 million contract extension.
Neither offer should make Sexton thrilled.
Collin Sexton in his last season:
Only 23 years old. pic.twitter.com/O5TnJrAkwf
— StatMuse (@statmuse) July 29, 2022
But according to Cavaliers insider Chris Fedor, Sexton might have a preference between the two unappetizing offers.
Fedor appeared on ESPN basketball analyst Zach Lowe’s podcast “The Lowe Post” and explained which offer Sexton’s team was drawn more towards:
“The offer I reported, the three-year around $40 million, I don’t get the sense Collin and his camp would take that. I don’t think they would take a multi-year deal at that number. In fact, I think it would be more likely they would take the qualifying offer, go into unrestricted free agency next offseason. Try to rebuild the value before that. Show that you can be healthy. Show that the meniscus tear is behind you. Show you can adapt to a lesser sixth man role. All those different things. I think that is more likely than taking the multi-year offer that the Cavs have made at this point in time.”
From Sexton’s perspective, everything Fedor says makes clear sense.
That’s because the qualifying offer is a one-year deal, with unrestricted free agency on the back end.
And like Fedor pointed out, taking this small-money deal now could lead to big bucks in the near future.
What happens if Sexton returns to Cleveland and settles into a Tyler Herro-esque role?
Teams would certainly value that level of bench playmaking and scoring.
And Sexton is certainly capable of it.
He might not get the 34-plus minutes per game that he’s used to, but he should still find ways to keep his volume high.
Herro, for his part, averaged roughly half an hour off the bench and is still getting up around 14 shots per game.
I'm not the biggest Collin Sexton fan but 3 years, $40-million is insulting.
I get the ACL tear but 20+ point scorers don't grow on trees:
Y1: 17-3-3 on 44-40-84 (82 games)
Y2: 21-3-3 on 47-38-85 (65)
Y3: 24-3-4 on 48-37-82 (60)
Y4: 16-3-2 on 45-24-74 (11)
Bet on yourself 💪 pic.twitter.com/D7rbWGNIBB
— The Front Office (@NBASkoolOfThort) July 24, 2022
Sexton, for his part, is seeing around 33 minutes of action per game as a starter and putting up 16 shots.
In a bench unit that might consist of Raul Neto, Ricky Rubio (when healthy), Ochai Agbaji, and Lamar Stevens/Dean Wade, Sexton would be unquestionably the top scoring option.
The worst thing Sexton could do is hold out.
By holding out, he’ll lose more than just opportunities to prove himself healthy and fully recovered from the knee injury.
He’ll lose credibility.
And someone like Sexton simply cannot afford to lose face.