Cavs in talks with free agents Booker, Babbitt

The Cavaliers are looking at Trevor Booker and Luke Babbitt as potential free-agent additions.

The Cleveland Cavaliers are doing their due diligence in free agency.

According to a report by Joe Vardon of cleveland.com, Trevor Booker and Luke Babbitt are among the players the Cavaliers are having discussions with, though no agreements with either player are imminent.

Cleveland also has restricted free agent Rodney Hood still in its plans, according to Vardon, and plans on matching any offer sheet he would sign. The Cavaliers extended a $3.4 million qualifying offer to Hood, giving them that right to match, though they are still working on signing him.

The 6-foot-8, 228-pound Booker averaged 5.4 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 17 games (one start) for the Pacers, shooting 46.4 percent from the field.

He also played 18 games for Brooklyn and 33 for Philadelphia. He played 68 games overall last season, starting seven, and averaged 6.3 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.2 assists, shooting 51.6 percent from the field.

The 30-year-old eight-year veteran earned $9.1 million last season.

The 6-9, 225-pound Babbitt averaged 5.2 points and 1.9 boards in 50 games (14 starts) last season, playing for the Hawks (37 games) and Heat (13 games).

He shot 42.3 percent from the field, 38.5 percent from deep and 77.3 percent from the free-throw line.

The 29-year-old eight-year veteran earned $1.97 million last season.

With LeBron James’ second defection, his near-$36 million salary is off the books and allows the Cavaliers some flexibility, should they decide to utilize it.

Cleveland has a pair of salary-cap exceptions it can use to sign players, the full mid-level exception ($8.6 million for next season of $37 million over four seasons) and the bi-annual exception ($3.3 million for next season and $7 million over two seasons).

If James had chosen to remain in Cleveland, the most the Cavs could offer any free agent would have been $5.3 million.

A source told Vardon the Cavaliers are “exploring all options” in regards to using their salary-cap exceptions, as well as the $5.8 million trade exception they still possess from the Kyrie Irving trade.

Cleveland has until August 22 to add a player or multiple players whose salaries fit into that salary window.

Another possibility mentioned by Vardon is veteran guard Shane Larkin, who would play behind George Hill and rookie Collin Sexton at point guard should he land in Cleveland.

Larkin averaged 4.3 points, 1.7 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 54 games (2 starts) for Boston last season.

The 5-11, 175-pound Larkin shot 38.4 percent from the field, 36.0 percent from long distance and 86.5 percent from the free-throw line.

The 25-year-old was plagued by a shoulder injury that did not allow him to play against the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals last season.

Cleveland’s payroll stands at $109.5 million for next season and it has three open roster spots.

If Okaro White is still on the Cavaliers’ roster Aug. 5, 50 percent of his $1.5 million salary for next season is guaranteed.

Though the Cavaliers are over the salary cap for next season, $101.9 million, the tax apron is $129.8 million. Being below the apron gives Cleveland money to spend on free agents for the first time in years.

“I think if there’s a right opportunity and it’s worth it for our franchise, then we can explore that,” Clevleand general manager Koby Altman said of the luxury tax. “I’m not saying we’re definitely not going to go into the tax, but it’s interesting now sort of being below it.”

Finally, a source told Vardon there is “nothing to report” on the rumored deal that would send Kyle Korver to Philadelphia in exchange for Jerryd Bayless.

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