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Larry Coon is regarded by many as one of the top NBA salary-cap experts around.
The general manager of Sports Business Classroom was a guest of Tony Zarrella of Cleveland 19 News and talked about the Cleveland Cavaliers and what they could do to bring in the type of players LeBron James wants as teammates in an effort to convince him to remain with them.
“That’s going to be pretty tough,” Coon said when asked how the Cavaliers could acquire those kinds of players. “Right now, it’s being said the Cavs are going to have a team salary of about $142 million and the cap is only going to be $101 million. Part of that includes LeBron’s salary ($35.6 million) because that’s on the books for next year, with his option.”
— Cleveland 19 Sports (@WOIOSports) June 12, 2018
Which makes getting major moves done problematic for Cleveland, Coon said.
“It’s going to take a lot in order to clear room to do something,” he said. “There are teams that could be dumping grounds for bad contracts. Teams like Atlanta, for example, might be willing to take on a bad contract or two and not necessarily even a bad one, just a contract other teams want to get rid of if you throw in enough sweetener.
“For the Cavs to create room, they’re going to have to be pretty clever with how they do certain trades in order to bring in the kind of people who LeBron would want to play with.”
That having been said, Coon believes the Cavaliers remain an option for the player regarded as the best in the league.
“With all due respect to teams like Sacramento and Atlanta, LeBron is just not going to go there,” he said. “So I think Cleveland is still one of the teams that you have to look at because I think he is going to give them the opportunity to show him what they are going to do to be a more competitive team.”
Coon listed the three most likely destinations for James as Cleveland, the Philadelphia 76ers and the Los Angeles Lakers.
“I think Cleveland is definitely a viable option,” he said. “Much to the disappointment of a lot of people who want to see him move.”