LeBron James is coming home? Colin Sexton’s future? What must be completed? Terry Token ‘Cavaliers’

around the caves

Caves president Kobe Altman took second place in this year’s NBA Executive vote, and he deserves attention. A series of bold moves have made the Cavs a serious basketball team for the first time since LeBron James’ summer 2018 departure for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Along with coach JB Bickerstaff, Altman redesigned the Cavs into a long, defensive-minded team. They went from the record 22-50 to 44-38. Injuries were the main reason for their collapse at the end of the season. They finished 9-17 and then lost two “Championship Play” games, missing the regular NBA playoffs.

However, the season was a huge step forward for the franchise. It’s the first time since 1997-98 they have a winning record without James on the roster. I don’t want to make major changes to this list. The best has yet to come.

Keep in mind the following:

1. Evan Mobley has yet to win New Rookie of the Year, but he is a future All-Star.

2. Darius Garland emerged as an all-star goalkeeper.

3. Garrett Allen Was The All-Star Center.

4. Lauri Markkanen appears to have found a home in Cleveland as a 7-foot-tall little striker. All of these players are between 20 and 24 years old.

Maximum contract?

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Darius Garland is eligible to extend his contract this summer. The maximum deal could be $180 million for five years. Joshua Gunther, cleveland.com

Let’s talk about money

Colin Sexton Restricted Free Agent. Before talking about how the Cavs should handle the status of their contract, consider the big financial picture:

1. Garland is eligible for a maximum contract extension. He’ll be in the 5-year, $180 million range, and he’s expected to pay his agent to make it happen. Garland is 23. He averaged 21.7 points, 8.6 assists and fired .462 (.383 on 3 throws). The only question will be whether he can stay healthy – and the Cavs won’t be able to play him for 38 minutes a game as they did after the All-Star break.

2. ALLEN HAS FOUR YEARS ON HER CONTRACT FOR $20 MILLION PER YEAR.

3. The 7-foot-tall Mobley is two years away from qualifying for a contract extension. It’s easy to imagine him growing into the best player on the team worthy of the maximum contract.

4. Markkanen has three years and $51 million ($39 million guaranteed) left on his contract.

5. As the Cavs look to the future of their salary cap, they should keep the Big Three in mind, and the precious Markkanen has a healthy contract.

6. Yes, they can afford Kevin Love ($28 million) and Caris LeVert ($18.7 million) each in the final year of their contracts. They could clear some salary cap space by trading any of these players or allowing them to become free agents after the 2022-23 season. But the youth are where the future money is to be spent and the salary cap room.

What do you do with Colin Sexton?

Guard Colin Sexton is a restricted free agent. How should the Cavs handle their contract status?
AP

WHAT TO DO WITH SEXTON

1. I will not make a long-term commitment to Sexton. He played only 11 games last year before suffering a knee injury at the end of the season. Sexton can score 6-1, but he’s not a regular starter in the same backcourt as Garland 6-1. This mixture is very small.

2. The Cavs must present Sexton with a $7.2 million “Qualifying Offer.” They should stress how the one-year deal gives Sexton a chance to establish himself as an immediate offender off the bench. That could set him up for a bigger deal with the Cavs or another team in the summer of 2023.

3. If Sexton is looking for a multi-year deal, how about two years in the $18 million range. But this has to be it. Sexton represents the Klutch Company, which is led by Clevelander Rich Paul. Her biggest client is LeBron James. Mark Termini, a Brecksville producer, was the contract negotiator for Klutch for eight years. He made some creative deals for James (including a no-trade clause) with the Cavs team. Termini left Kloch two years ago.

4. Sexton is a restricted free agent, which means Cavs can match any offer. His market value is cloudy considering his knee injury. His skills are scoring, not playing making. Its size makes it a burden to defense. But he can be very productive in 20-25 minutes in one game off the bench.

5. LeVert would like to sign an extension. In 19 games, he averaged 13.6 points, shooting .435 (.312 on 3 throws) after hitting Cleveland. I’m hesitant to make a big, long-term commitment to him this summer. Just as with Sexton, the team can afford to wait unless either player is willing to sign a team friend contract.

What next for LeBron James?

Will the Lakers really trade with LeBron James? He has another year on his contract.
Joshua Gunther, cleveland.com

About LeBron James

For months, I’ve been getting emails about LeBron James returning to the Cleveland club. I would be surprised if that happens. Let’s examine his situation:

1. In his four years with the Cavs (2014-18), James has missed a total of 27 games. James has been with the Lakers for the past four seasons, and has missed 84 games.

2. James is still a great player when he’s healthy. But he is 37 years old. In the past two years, he has missed 26 and 27 matches. James often said “Father time is undefeated,” entering its 19th season.

3. Yes, the Lakers won the 2020 title with James. But twice (2019 and 2022), they missed the playoffs. In 2021, they were knocked out in the first round.

4. Prior to coming to Los Angeles, James only missed the playoffs in his first two pro seasons as a teenager. After that, he never made it out in the first round. He usually took his team deep into the playoffs, playing in eight consecutive NBA Finals (2011-18) games between Miami and the Caves. Physically, he can’t do that anymore.

5. James had a great season, averaging 30.3 points, 8.2 rebounds and 6.2 assists. Fire .524 from the field (.359 on 3 shots). But his missed games revealed the Lakers in disarray, as their team finished 33-49 and even missed the championship.

6. This list is full of some of his old buddies: Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard, Russell Westbrook. It was a disaster. The Lakers are looking for a new coach after going through Luke Walton and Frank Vogel in James’ four years.

7. One of the strangest rumors is that former Lakers coach Phil Jackson advised Lakers owner Jenny Boss to keep Westbrook and trade James. Buss has a long relationship with Jackson. In a recent interview, Boss said she wanted to make things work with James in Los Angeles

8. James has another year and $45 million left on his contract. The issue of trading him back is to bring back some young talent and recruiting options, and to start over while he’s still fairly healthy. But the Lakers have such an old roster, and it just doesn’t seem to make sense.

9. Any team that trades with James must create $45 million from the salary cap space. Yes, you could say the Cavs could replace them with Kevin Love and LeVert to make it work. But why would the Lakers accept that? They want real players. Young players. Some of the key players in Cleveland.

10. I don’t see the Cavs tearing up their roster for a year or two with James, hoping he stays healthy. James also doesn’t like being surrounded by young players. Look at the menus he ordered in Los Angeles and Cleveland. It seems very likely that James will remain in LA and even sign an extension rather than trade it.

11. In the meantime, the Cavs must continue to grow. They could go on for several seasons with this group if Altman keeps making smart moves. They have a lottery selection. Sexton is the only preeminent free agent. I like the direction of the team.

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