Random dribbles on the Cavaliers and some of the offseason happenings.
1. Once the trade rumor is out of the bag, you can’t put it back in. That’s where the Cavs are today with standout guard and leading scorer Collin Sexton.
2. For a little background, Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated cited league sources in reporting the Cavs have already begun to explore a Sexton trade.
3. Woo wrote: “There’s belief around the league that Cleveland prefers to move on from Sexton, rather than sign him to a deal that would greatly inhibit their flexibility moving forward.”
4. Former NBA agent and current draft expert Matt Babcock also touched on the topic for Basketball News, writing that “there are rumors swirling that Collin Sexton‘s days in Cleveland could be numbered.”
5. We sort of knew this was coming. Center Jarrett Allen is a restricted free agent, and the Cavs have every intention of pursuing a multiyear contract. It could be worth $100 million. The Cavs didn’t trade for Allen early in the season with the idea he’d just be a rental. They intend to keep him for the long-term.
6. Meanwhile, Sexton is eligible for a rookie-scale extension. They would love to keep him. But they also have to make certain the dollars make sense. Sexton, 22, will want a max contract.
7. Along with that, the Cavs own the No. 3 overall pick. Assuming Oklahoma State guard Cade Cunningham goes first to the Pistons, that leaves three players expected to be drafted in the top four — USC center Evan Mobley, G League guard Jalen Green and Gonzaga guard Jalen Suggs, in no particular order.
8. It seems unlikely that the Cavs will take Mobley. This isn’t the era of the Twin Towers, so it’s hard to envision a Mobley-Allen combo in the frontcourt. Today’s perimeter-oriented NBA is mostly about guards and wings.
9. So the Cavs may end up getting their choice between Green and Suggs. I’ve been told they love both. If they choose either, they can still run a three-guard lineup that also involves Sexton and Darius Garland.
10. But there is also this truth — you don’t draft a player at No. 3 overall with the hopes that he’ll come off the bench. You also don’t want to pay a player loads of cash (Sexton) to come off the bench.
11. With all that in mind, I asked an opposing general manager what he thought of the Sexton trade chatter. “Given where they’re drafting and contract coming up, it might make sense for them (to trade him),” the GM told me.
12. As an aside, I also asked the GM if he had any Sexton talks with the Cavs. “No,” he said. “I haven’t heard anything about it other than that one report.”
13. Along with that, I’ve been told by multiple sources that Cavs GM Koby Altman isn’t likely to force anything. He is feeling no pressure to trade Sexton. There’s a difference between “exploring” and “putting on a full-court press.”
14. Sexton is a fantastic scorer. He averaged 24.3 points this past season. He plays incredibly hard. He’s been in the league for three years and has missed a mere 12 games (all last season). There is a lot to like.
15. But borderline All-Stars on losing teams tend to move around a lot. That’s not my opinion. That’s NBA history. And that is where Sexton and the Cavs are today. He’s a borderline All-Star and they have stunk with him as their top option.
16. So far, Altman’s post-LeBron James run has been clunky. He’s way oversold the roster’s “core four,” usually resulting in eyerolls from the fans. Altman has committed no fireable offenses, but he’s also not proven anything beyond being able to talk a good game.
17. This is the offseason that he really needs to do something to accelerate the rebuild, and as he himself said, “start winning some games.” Otherwise, he may not be around to see his rebuild through.
18. He also needs to get the roster in a good place financially. Giving Allen a $100 million deal and giving Sexton the max doesn’t seem like a good idea. Neither has made an All-Star team or played for a winner.
19. Plenty of teams would love to have Sexton. The GM I spoke with thinks he’s best suited for a sparkplug role off the bench. The GM said he’d certainly discuss a trade if the Cavs called.
20. Granted, it would be tough seeing Sexton go. He’s a great guy, plays incredibly hard, and really wants to win. We just have no evidence he’s a No. 1 option. So it would behoove the Cavs to not yet pay him like one.
21. The Cavs are going to spin it in the media as if the Sexton rumors are false. They like to act like everything is going swimmingly along, as if there’s some grand scheme that can’t be questioned. But that’s not reality.
22. Sexton would bring a decent return. Probably not a bona fide star — but a decent return. And someone who fits better next to the fast-rising Garland may be in the draft. If the Cavs take that player, they can ride out his rookie contract for a few years, maintain some flexibility, and continue to stay on the right course.
23. So will they move Sexton? They’re going to look into it, and from the sounds of things, have already started. It’s a good thing to explore. It may be a better thing to act on. I suspect it very well could happen.