Things Could Get Tricky, Maybe Sticky, In Cavs’ Contract Talks With Collin Sexton

CLEVELAND — Without question, the decision on what to do about Collin Sexton and his looming free agency is the top priority for Cavaliers president of basketball operations Koby Altman and his front office.Collin Sexton

Sexton is a restricted free agent, a status that gives the Cavs options.

They can either wait and match an offer from another team, or get ahead of things and just sign him outright themselves.

Or they could sign him and trade him, a la Lonzo Ball (from the Pelicans to Bulls) last offseason. But when it comes to the Cavs and Sexton, that seems to be the least likely scenario. They want to keep him.

Still, it is a scenario that exists.

Interestingly, the ball is mostly in the Cavs’ court here. For starters, all of their top nine players from last season are under contract. Secondly, Sexton missed all but 11 games after suffering a torn MCL.

The situation is something that was accurately described by Luke Adams of Hoops Rumors.

“As good a scorer as Sexton is, his contributions on the other end of the court are limited, and his lost season will likely reduce his leverage in contract negotiations,” Adams wrote. “With so few teams possessing cap room this offseason, the Cavs are in position to play hardball in their discussions with Sexton, especially if none of those cap-room teams have serious interest in him. A deal worth at least $20-25MM annually seemed within reach for the 6-foot-1 guard a year ago, but now he’d be doing well to get $15-17MM per season.”

Again, that is all on-point. Throw in the fact All-Star guard Darius Garland became the face of the team in Sexton’s absence, and … well, negotiations between the Cavs and Sexton very well could include a few hiccups.

“The sense I get is the Cavs are more comfortable in the $15-18 million range while Sexton’s camp is eyeing something around $18-22 million,” wrote Chris Fedor of “Sources say Cleveland’s front office doesn’t believe there is a team willing to give Sexton a contract north of $20 million annually.”

Another thing to consider: Garland is also 6-1. And it’s not often a team that starts two 6-1 guards has reached the Finals, or even has even made serious noise in the postseason.

Granted, the Cavs are unique in that they also start three near-7-footers in the frontcourt in Jarrett Allen, rookie sensation Evan Mobley and Lauri Markkanen. So a lack of size in the backcourt probably isn’t viewed as a big deal in Cleveland.

Of course, the Cavs do have an answer to that in Caris LeVert, acquired in the midseason trade with the Pacers. LeVert never really got settled after the trade, but the Cavs seem to believe his best is yet to come. A full training camp and some good fortune in the health department for LeVert just might prove the Cavs right.

“The presence of LeVert should provide the Cavs with additional leverage in their talks with Sexton,” Adams wrote. “LeVert wasn’t at his best after joining the Cavs, averaging a modest 13.6 PPG in 19 games, but he’s just one year removed from a 20+ PPG season, and his size makes him a more natural fit next to Garland in Cleveland’s backcourt.”

What’s it all mean for Sexton’s future as a member of the Cavs?

Well, all we really know is the Cavs seem to really want him back, and he seems to want to be here. But this is free agency, and there are never any guarantees, not ever, but especially not in today’s NBA.

As one prominent agent told Hoops Wire, “It seems to me a lot of (opposing) teams are approaching it as if Sexton will be back (with the Cavs), but also staying aware that he may become available.”

For now, that’s about the best answer possible.

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