Kevin Love was free agency’s first big domino to fall. Iman Shumpert agreed to terms on his deal just several hours later, and Tristan Thompson’s ongoing contract talks have ensured he’ll be a very, very rich man going forward. And when LeBron James signed his one-year pact when the moratorium finally ended on July 9, the Cleveland Cavaliers’ hugely important offseason could officially be considered a success.
Even should Thompson’s negotiations soon come to their seemingly inevitable conclusion, though, David Griffin and company would still have work to do to bring back the band that came within two victories of Cleveland’s first championship in franchise history. Yet despite a few postseason scoring binges, J.R. Smith isn’t the free agent with whom Cavaliers fans are most concerned.
Why? Playoff folk hero Matthew Dellavedova remains unsigned, and has reportedly reached an impasse with Cleveland’s front office on a contract that would keep him in Northeast Ohio. Here’s Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated:
Not much movement between the Cavaliers and Matthew Dellavedova on a new contract. A restricted free agent, Dellavedova is seeking a multiyear deal starting at $4 million per season, per a source, and the Cavs have balked, largely due to the enormous luxury tax implications that come with that type of contract.
The Cavaliers have every reason to slow-play talks with Dellavedova. Not only has the point guard market mostly dried up, but Cleveland also has the right to match any competing offer sheet the Aussie signs because he’s a restricted free agent. That the team already re-added Mo Williams to the fold lessens its need for more ballhandling off the bench, too.
Even considering those mitigating factors, however, it would be a minor shock if Dellavedova wears colors other than wine-and-gold next season. Every dollar counts for the tax-paying Cavaliers, and the 24-year-old isn’t worth an even heftier penalty bill than Dan Gilbert will already be forced to pay assuming Thompson eventually inks a near max-level contract of his own.
Still, Dellavedova’s defensive disposition and overall toughness are attributes Cleveland largely lacks at guard. Combined with his immense popularity and status as a restricted free agent, those abilities should be enough for him to eventually come to terms with the Cavaliers – whether it’s on a long-term contract or even a one-year qualifying deal.
[Via Sports Illustrated]