So far, none of the Association’s other 29 teams have done so much as sent an offer sheet to Sexton.
Once upon a time, the question facing the Cavs was “how much would they match?”
Now, the question becomes whether Sexton would return to Cleveland on a one-year “prove it” deal at the mid-level exception.
But Sexton still could very well depart in free agency.
And one team rumored to have an interest in the restricted free agent is the Dallas Mavericks.
If Sexton does end up trading teams, expect the Cavs to at least explore a sign and trade to keep their former lottery pick for leaving for nothing.
How We Got Here
Dallas’ interest is far from surprising.
That leaves Dallas without a backcourt partner for superstar Luka Doncic.
Sexton’s size is not a concern for Dallas, considering Doncic stands at 6’7.
Collin Sexton is 23 years old and has CAREER averages of 20 PPG on 46% shooting … who’s gonna sign him??
— Ben Stinar (@BenStinar) July 4, 2022
Also, Sexton is more known for his scoring prowess than distributing ability.
But Brunson’s career 3.7 assists per game isn’t far from Sexton’s career 3.3.
However, Dallas signing Sexton outright is off the table.
The Mavs would have to pull off a sign and trade for Sexton, considering Dallas’s cap space situation.
But it takes two to tango, and the Cavs aren’t enamored with any of Dallas’ square-dance partners, according to Chris Fedor of cleveland.com:
“The Dallas Mavericks have been rumored as a team that may have interest because they lost Jalen Brunson. They don’t have cap space. So it would have to be a sign-and-trade worked out with the Cavs. And I’m told that the Cavs are not very attracted to any of the pieces that Dallas would be willing to send back to them in a potential sign-and-trade.”
But should a sign and trade with the Mavericks interest the Cavaliers?
By The Numbers
It’s not hard to see why the Cavs aren’t interested in what Dallas has to offer.
Spencer Dinwiddie for $17 million next season?
Tim Hardaway‘s $21 million?
Davis Bertans‘ $16 million?
As Bertans would say in his native Latvian: Nē.
But those contracts are out the question anyway, considering that the Mavs would look to match Sexton’s salary.
As it stands, Sexton’s value, according to The Athletic’s John Hollinger’s BORD$ metric, is $10.8 million per year.
That number is just north of the mid-level exception ($10.6 million).
So let’s say that the Mavericks offer Sexton a deal between $10.5 million and $14 million per year.
First off, the Cavs would likely simply match that offer, considering it’s less than the $18 million they were willing to pay Sexton and far less than the $22 million Sexton’s camp was looking for.
But if the Cavs do not match the offer, which players could be sent back Cleveland’s way?
Reggie Bullock would likely be the centerpiece of any exchange, as he’s owed $9.5 million next season.
Collin Sexton missed 71 games with a torn meniscus last year & he's still played 48 more games than Kyrie Irving has in the past 4 seasons 💀 pic.twitter.com/3FjJHn0SKA
— NBA Memes (@NBAMemes) July 3, 2022
But do literally any of these players move the needle for Cleveland in a way that just retaining Sexton would?
Bullock would be a nice addition for wing depth, as would Josh Green.
But Cleveland just invested a lottery pick for that position.
And believe it or not, but the Mavericks might need Ntilikina’s above-average defensive contributions.
In short, it’s clear why the Cavs have turned their nose up at whatever Dallas is selling.