For much of this summer, the Collin Sexton contract saga has hung over the Cleveland Cavaliers and hasn’t come close to a resolution.
The Cavs reportedly offered him a deal worth about $40 million over three years, but Sexton reportedly wants something in the area of $20 million a year.
The market for him elsewhere has been very tepid, limiting Cleveland’s ability to execute a sign-and-trade involving him.
However, there is a third way for Sexton to remain with the team this coming season, even if it wouldn’t be palatable for him.
That would involve him accepting the team’s qualifying offer as a restricted free agent, then becoming an unrestricted free agent next summer.
It has seemed like Sexton and his camp were against doing that, but maybe not anymore.
“Sources maintain Sexton’s camp is open to taking the qualifying offer,” wrote Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. “While the deadline for that is Oct. 1, the two sides can mutually agree to extend that date.”
At this point, it may be the best bet for both sides, even though it wouldn’t exactly be ideal.
Sexton Is An Important Piece For The Cavs
Cleveland was offensively challenged this past season, especially when it came to outside shooting, transition play and viable guard depth.
Sexton can help solve all three problems by himself, even if he isn’t a complete solution.
For all the criticism he gets from some corners for his game and its flaws, he is a very adept and efficient scorer.
He was limited to just 11 games in the 2021-22 season due to a meniscus injury, but the year before that, he averaged 24.3 points a game on 47.5 percent overall shooting and 37.1 percent from 3-point range.
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
Sexton is fairly quick, especially off the dribble, and he is good at attacking, getting downhill and filling up the hoop.
He is often criticized for having too much tunnel vision, but he has improved his passing, going from 3.0 assists per game in his second season to 4.4 per game the following year.
Posting a Collin Sexton clip every day until he gets re-signed by the Cavs.pic.twitter.com/efaeRBUO7M
— Arlos Sara (@ArlosNicias) August 4, 2022
Starting him alongside Darius Garland would be problematic on the defensive end, given that both of them are undersized, but Sexton could potentially thrive in a sixth-man role.
That way, he could come off the bench and be unencumbered when it comes to scoring, since he’d be playing more minutes without Garland to defer to.
The question is whether Sexton would agree to such a role.
The Risks Of Taking The Qualifying Offer
From Sexton’s point of view, the risk of him taking the Cavs’ qualifying offer, which is worth $7.2 million, is that he could always get injured again and lose his opportunity to secure the big bag next year.
Or, he could have residual effects from his meniscus injury and see his production go down significantly.
For the Cavs, if Sexton goes down the qualifying offer route, there will be plenty of bidders for his services in 2023 if he has even a decent year, and that could force owner Dan Gilbert to reach deeper into his pockets to keep him.
It seems like Gilbert is determined to avoid the luxury tax.