Cavs shouldn’t worry about Lakers chasing Collin Sexton

The Cleveland Cavaliers have a number of important decisions to make this summer, and perhaps the most important is what to do with them. Collin Sexton. Negotiations with Sexton and his agent, Rich Paul, will determine whether or not Sexton is with the Cavs next season, and whether Cleveland has mortgaged the future to keep him.

Sexton, understandably, will use every lever at his disposal to secure a strong contract, from historic lineups for a player who averages more than 24 points per game at his age, to pointing to other recent deals for players like Terry Rozier, but mostly any outside leverage he can find.

The outside leverage in the contract negotiation is the idea that the Cavs have to pay Sexton or “someone else will.” In such a situation, it helps if there is actually an interested team and if that team has the capacity to make the alleged contract offer. Sexton’s agency, Klutch, has a well-known connection that could provide this service to Sexton’s camp.

Rumors that a certain West Coast NBA team is interested in Collin Sexton make no sense. The Cavs shouldn’t worry about the Los Angeles Lakers.

He has been reported that the Los Angeles Lakers have an interest in adding Collin Sexton. Any team looking to improve their offense probably has “an interest” in Sexton, but this one makes a lot of sense. The Lakers need to improve a team that completely missed the qualifier last year and they love adding players from Klutch due to the LeBron James connection.

If this rumor was about the Detroit Pistons or the San Antonio Spurs interested in Collin Sexton, the Cavs might need to worry. Those teams have cap space, which means they could sign Sexton on a hefty offer sheet that the Cavs would struggle to match. This is effective external leverage; the Cavs offer $16 million per season, Sexton’s camp hints that the Pistons are interested and would sign him for $22 million per season, and as it could credibly happen, the Cavs increase their offer to $19 million dollars rather than risk having Sexton sign this offer. sheet.

The Lakers have no cap space; in fact, they have the complete opposite of ceiling space, sitting above the ceiling after just three contracts added together: LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook. Add Talen Horton-Tucker and all the minimum contracts needed to fill the list and they’re already in the luxury tax.

The maximum they could offer Sexton is the Mid-Tier Taxpayer Exception, which starts at $6.34 million; that’s less than Sexton’s qualifying bid of $7.22 million. There’s absolutely no chance he’ll sign such a contract, and the Cavs would tie him in the blink of an eye if he did.

How teams above the cap can play for a restricted free agent is often a sign-and-trade; a team can avoid the hassle of an offer sheet by sending assets to the player’s former team, and that team signs and trades the restricted free agent to the second team, often for more than it otherwise could pay. that is how Lauri Markkanen joined the Cavs last offseason.

It’s not an option here, or at least not realistic. If you add a player via sign-and-trade, you’re “capped” at the tax apron, which is $155.2 million for next season. The only way the Lakers could add Sexton by sign-and-trade and put him under the apron would be to send one of their three big contracts to the Cavs.

LeBron James’ return unlikely but theoretically possible; we explore that possibility here, while providing additional salary cap context. Still, outside of a few veiled comments during All-Star Weekend, there’s no reason to expect LeBron to make his way, so let’s skip that road for now.

If they keep LeBron, they keep Anthony Davis, so it comes down to Russell Westbrook. The only way the Lakers can add Collin Sexton is via a sign-and-trade where Russell Westbrook (and presumably a pair of first-round picks) go to Cleveland, and Sexton and other salaries go to the Lakers. This could reduce the Lakers salary enough to slip under the apron.

There’s no way the Cavs will do that. Every NBA team has seen Russell Westbrook destroy multiple teams with his glaring weaknesses as a player. The Lakers were terrible with Westbrook on the court last season and only mediocre without him due to the lack of player rotation they had due to the addition of Westbrook. It was ugly and it stayed ugly. When we ranked the 30 best point guards in the NBA this week, Westbrook was left (just) off the list.

Westbrook has name value, but his on-court play just hasn’t matched his stardom in years now, and the whole league, including Cleveland, knows it. The Cavs are fighting to compete next season, and they won’t bring Westbrook into the mix — especially not at the cost of alienation Darius Garland and punch a hole in their defense big enough for a truck to fit through.

There is no realistic way for the Lakers to acquire Collin Sexton this offseason. They have the glamor of a team that could provide outside leverage for Sexton in contract negotiations, but Koby Altman and the Cavs shouldn’t fear them at all. It’s a baseless rumor at the best of times and a wild Rob Pelinka pipe dream at the worst, and it’s not happening.

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