Although hopes are high for the Cleveland Cavaliers heading into the 2022-23 season, a significant issue still remains unresolved.
Restricted free agent Collin Sexton still hasn’t come to terms with the team on a new contract extension, and he is reportedly not happy about the three-year, $40 million offer it has made to him.
Report: Cleveland has offered Collin Sexton “a three-year deal worth around $40 million.”
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) July 24, 2022
He is reportedly seeking a contract in the area of $20 million a year, and it seems the Cavs aren’t interested in paying him that much money.
It also looks like a sign-and-trade may be difficult to pull off.
Hard to find a logical S&T for #Cavs Collin Sexton involving the Mavericks, Jazz, Heat or other “interested” teams. Especially with the base year compensation complications, plus Cavs roster crunch, salary cap situation & desire to avoid tax while keeping space for next summer
— Chris Fedor (@ChrisFedor) July 26, 2022
As a restricted free agent, Sexton does have the security valve of the qualifying offer Cleveland extended to him, which he can take for now in order to remain with the team, then become an unrestricted free agent next summer.
One report states that the 23-year-old guard may in fact do just that.
“Collin Sexton is in the midst of the most difficult free agency status — restricted free agency — but the fourth-year guard and his representation, Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul, have shown so far that they won’t settle in negotiations,” wrote Shams Charania of The Athletic. “Discussions could go into training camp, and potentially into the season when the landscape of the league’s rosters shift.”
While it may be the most viable path for both sides at this point, it is also a risky avenue to go down for both sides.
The Risks For Sexton
Although Sexton has his flaws, particularly on the defensive end and possibly as a passer and playmaker, there is no denying he is a skilled scorer.
He has a career average of 20.0 points per game while shooting 45.8 percent overall from the field and 37.8 percent from 3-point range, and that’s more than most NBA guards can say.
In the 2020-21 season, he topped out at 24.3 points a game while improving to 4.4 assists per contest.
However, he missed most of this past season due to a torn meniscus in his left knee.
Although most NBA teams do not have enough cap space to sign Sexton outright, his injury may be a real reason why the market for him has been almost nonexistent.
When a player takes a qualifying offer and decides to wait a year in order to secure a bigger bag, there is always a chance he will suffer a significant injury which will greatly decrease his value on the market.
Sexton is young, but it is always an inherent risk that’s involved in not taking an offer right now.
The Risks For The Cavs
It’s difficult to project what the league-wide salary cap landscape will look like in 12 months, but it’s certainly possible many more teams will have any type of functional cap space by then.
Let’s say Sexton has a great season, and the Cavs offer him about $16-18 million a year next summer, but another team offers him north of $20 million a year.
In that case, Cleveland could pretty much kiss Sexton goodbye, unless he loves the situation there so much he’s willing to take enough of a pay cut to stay in The Land.
The Cavs may be able to survive in the long-term without him, but it won’t be easy.