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According to former Brooklyn Nets basketball man and current ESPN analyst Bobby Marks, the Cavaliers did no wrong when they signed Patrick McCaw to a two-year contract, then waived him a week later.
In fact, the whole thing may be little more than a case of sour grapes from the Golden State Warriors.
“The offer sheet was within the rules of the CBA,” Marks tweeted. “The Cavaliers shouldn’t be held responsible because it would have cost Golden State $11 million towards the tax. If there is an issue, change the rules in the next CBA.”
If all of this is too confusing, just know this — the NBA is investigating the Cavs for signing a free agent, then cutting him after three games and a total of 18 minutes. Why is that an issue? Because it would be unethical (not to mention a violation of league rules) to agree, ahead of time, to give a player contract when both sides knew ahead of time he would be waived.
Did the Cavs do that? No one knows. At least not yet. And even if someone thinks they knew, it would be extremely difficult to prove.
Now, the Cavs are going to maintain in all of this that they signed McCaw with the chance to audition him. In order to do that, they needed to give him the contract they delivered (two years, $6 million). At the time, the Warriors held McCaw’s rights as a restricted free agent.
The Cavs also needed to protect themselves with an “out.” In this case, the contract was set up so that if McCaw was waived by Monday, the Cavs didn’t owe him another dime.
That is what happened.
The Cavs waived McCaw on Sunday night, then signed point guard Cameron Payne to a 10-day contract. McCaw entered unrestricted free agency and can now sign with anyone for any amount.
Why did the Cavs cut McCaw so quickly? Because they quickly found McCaw didn’t fill a need (they already have a glut of wings on the roster) and Payne did. Payne was waived by the Chicago Bulls on Friday — several days after McCaw was signed. So the Cavs may not have bothered with McCaw had they known a young point guard would be available.
That’s likely the Cavs’ story and they’re likely sticking to it.
“I saw McCaw twice in Cleveland over the weekend,” Marks tweeted. “He hasn’t played NBA basketball since the spring and showed a ton of rust. It was worth a two-week experiment for the Cavaliers to see where he was physically. Is he worth a 10-day contract or rest-of-the-season minimum? Yes.
“However, guaranteeing $3 million is a little too rich, especially for a Cleveland team that is need of a backup point guard to Collin Sexton.”
Hard to believe all of this is over a player who averaged precisely 4.0 points per game in each of his first two seasons.
But that is the NBA today, and the Cavs and everyone else have to follow the rules to T.
If you ask Marks, that’s exactly what the Cavs did and they are therefore guilty of nothing.