The Cleveland Cavaliers still have an open roster spot, and it’s unknown if the ball club intends to fill the void, especially with their luxury tax bill continuing to pile up. However, Luke Adams of Hoops Rumors stressed in his recent piece that it’s logical for the Cavs to add another veteran presence for the postseason’s grind.
The Cavaliers currently carry 13 players on its roster after Marcus Thornton’s 10-day contract expired this week. Per NBA rules, a team is allowed to have 13 players on its 15-man lineup for two weeks but it should reach the league’s minimum of 14 after that time period.
NBA cap expert Albert Nahmad of Heathoops.com noted that the Cavs are playing some sort of a two-week game. By signing a player to a 10-day deal every two weeks, Cleveland not only saves salary money but also avoids paying more luxury tax, which now stands at $50.4 million.
Still, Nahmad cleared the Brooklyn Nets’ all-time obligation record of $191 million set in the 2013-14 season is unlikely to be broken this year, with the Cavs’ total obligations (salaries, luxury tax, and cash) pegged at $188 million. They can still fill the vacant spots on their 15-man roster, but the late-season additions won’t move them past the Nets’ record.
Cavaliers, who already owe $50.4M in luxury taxes this season, appear to be playing the two-week game.— Albert Nahmad (@AlbertNahmad) March 6, 2018
Teams can only drop to 13 players for up to two weeks at a time. They waited exactly two weeks to sign Marcus Thornton to a 10-day. Now that it’s over, they have another two.
Adams believes it’s possible the Cavs will wait until the final weeks of the season before they bring in some veteran help. Cleveland took a similar route last year when they enlisted the service of enforcer Dahntay Jones at the end of the 2016-17 season, making the veteran eligible for postseason play.
There are still plenty of veteran options available in the free agency market such as Tony Allen, Anthony Morrow, Gerald Henderson and big man Kendrick Perkins. Adams thinks the Cavs would also consider bringing back former All-Star guard Deron Williams, who had an underwhelming stint with the team last season.
Williams, 33, played 24 games with the Cavs last season, averaging 7.5 points and 3.6 assists in 20.3 minutes of play. However, the former All-NBA player hardly contributed during the Cavs’ postseason campaign, especially in the NBA finals series against the Golden State Warriors, in which he averaged just 1.1 points and 1.2 assists in 12.2 minutes per game.
Still, Cleveland has been deprived of some veteran leadership since they pushed the youth movement button at the trade deadline, landing them with postseason greenhorns Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr. and Rodney Hood. George Hill, the other mid-season acquisition for the Cavs, has provided stability and some playoff pedigree in the backcourt that also features journeyman Jose Calderon. While beefing up the frontline emerges the top priority for the Cavs following the injury to Tristan Thompson, the prospect of adding a battle-tested veteran in Williams would also make sense for this title-chasing squad.