There’s seemingly no end in sight to the end of the Collin Sexton-Cavaliers stalemate.
Eventually, one of the sides will have to give.
But neither one appears ready to give in just yet.
As it stands, the Cavaliers have extended two offers to Sexton; the first is a $7.2 million qualifying offer that sent Sexton to restricted free agency.
The second is a three-year extension for $40 million ($13.3 million/season), roughly $5-9 million less than Sexton is looking for per year.
But bringing back Sexton might be just one chapter in this story.
Because if he returns, the Cavs have to move another player currently rostered to get under the league’s 15-player roster cap during the regular season.
So who might be on the chopping block if Sexton returns?
1. Lamar Stevens
There’s a lot to like about Lamar Stevens’ game.
He plays with a chippy and swaggering defensive mentality clearly evident in each of his 63 total appearances last season.
That level of intensity was enough to see Stevens average 16.1 minutes per game last season, with roughly six points scored in those minutes.
Collin Sexton definitely looks ready to prove the haters wrong. https://t.co/CDMiKOVb7K
— Mack Perry (@DevaronPerry) August 16, 2022
And it should be a boon for more playing time once again.
So what gives?
In a recent mailbag, Cavs insider Kelsey Russo explained why it wouldn’t be surprising if Stevens was the one sent packing if Sexton returns:
“It’s worth noting that Stevens’ deal is non-guaranteed for the upcoming season. That matters because if the Cavs bring back Sexton, they have to find a roster spot for Stevens because they are currently at 15 players, and both two-way spots are filled. The Cavs like Stevens and what he brings on the floor, but it is a factor to keep in mind.”
If Sexton comes back, the Cavs will look for any way possible to save some money.
The roughly $2 million to Stevens wouldn’t open up a massive hole in their cap space, but the fact that the team wouldn’t lose any money has to be a major factor against Stevens in this scenario.
2. Dylan Windler
Is it the end of Wind-sanity in Cleveland, yet?
Guard Dylan Windler’s star is fading fast in Lake Erie.
Over the last three seasons, Windler is only averaging 12 minutes per game and shooting well below league average from three.
It’s a tough pill to swallow for someone brought in to be a shooting sparkplug off the bench.
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
Further, Windler’s position makes things redundant if Sexton does come back.
When the Cavaliers drafted swing Ochai Agbaji at No. 14 this summer, it moved Windler even further back in the pecking order.
Agbaji, Cedi Osman, Isaac Okoro, and Caris LeVert are all ahead of Windler, and that’s before factoring in a Sexton return.
The only hang-up?
Windler is set to make $4 million next season — and how he’s making more money than Lamar Stevens is a debate for another day.
But that $4 million would be a dead cap hit if the Cavs don’t find a trade partner to take Windler.
It might not seem like much, but every cent counts since the Cavs are staring down extensions to Okoro and LeVert in the near future.