The Cleveland Cavaliers have made a lot of noise this offseason, but they still do not have a complete roster.
The Cavs currently have just 11 players under contract, yet they are way over the NBA’s salary cap and luxury tax threshold at $88.6 million guaranteed, according to Basketball Insiders. This does not include the $6.7 qualifying offer that Cleveland extended to restricted free agent Tristan Thompson.
Speaking of Thompson, CBS Sports is reporting that 6-foot-9 center is considering signing the qualifying offer because he and the Cavs are not close to an equitable extension. If Thompson does ultimately sign the qualifying offer, his agent Rich Paul told Sportsnet that next year would be his last in a Cleveland uniform — Thompson would be an unrestricted free agent if he signs the QO.
Thompson is an excellent offensive rebounder and extremely effective in pick-n-roll situations. He averaged 8.6 points and 8.0 rebounds, with 3.3 coming on the offensive end in 26.8 minutes of action as he came off the bench in 67 of the 82 regular season games. Thompson is expected to come off the bench once again this season as Kevin Love is healthy and Timofey Mozgov is expected to start at center.
Former Brooklyn Nets assistant manager Bobby Marks tweeted the Cavs salary situation with Thompson signing a max contract, which Thompson desires, and the qualifying offer.
Whether Thompson signs an extension or the qualifying offer, he will ultimately be in Cleveland this season. So, the Cavs still have three more spots to fill.
Cleveland has three trade exceptions that is worth a total of $14 million, which includes a $10.5 million exception the Cavs received from Portland in exchange for Brendan Haywood, and they could use those to help them fill the roster.
The Cavs are looking for a backup for LeBron James at small forward and another interior player or two. Also, J.R. Smith is still on the open market.
Smith reportedly has gotten interest from the Philadelphia 76ers, but Sam Amico of Fox Sports says that has since dwindled and the Cavs are letting the market determine his value.
If Smith doesn’t re-sign with the team, the Cavs do have a variety of options.
Los Angeles Clippers sixth-man Jamal Crawford, as the Inquisitr previously reported, is one option for Cleveland. Crawford is said to be “unhappy in Los Angeles” and would welcome an opportunity to go to Cleveland. However, Crawford still has one-year on his contract meaning that the Clippers-Cavs would have to come to an amicable trade to make this a reality. He averaged 15.8 points a game, coming off the bench last season.
Sports World Report mentioned that Nick Young, OJ Mayo, Channing Frye, and Kevin Martin could also be trade options to fill the void behind James. SWR also threw out names like Sasha Kaun, whose draft rights are currently owned by Cleveland, Elton Brand, and Eric Moreland as possible candidates to back up Mozgov and Varejao at center. Brand and Moreland are currently free agents.
[photo by Pool/Getty Images]