In a move that some may seem to be somewhat of a shock, the Cleveland Cavaliers decided to not extend shooting guard Wayne Ellington a qualifying offer before the weekend deadline according to Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal. This move by the Wine and Gold does not mean that they aren’t interesting in resigning the role-playing two guards, but it does make him an unrestricted free agent heading into the offseason. This means that he will have the option to freely accept offers from teams looking for a backup shooting guard.
In Right Down Euclid senior writer Chris Manning’s interview with coach Chuck Ellis, Ellis mentioned that Ellington loved the direction that this team was headed in and that he wanted to come back and be a future piece on this squad. Because Cleveland didn’t offer Ellington $3 million to make him a restricted free agent, it does not mean that Cleveland will not make a run at resigning Ellington. Making the former University of North Carolina product a RFA would have given Cleveland the opportunity to match any offers he would receive from other teams in the offseason. The Wine and Gold are just being smart and saving money by not extending Ellington the qualifying offer. Technically they could still resign him in free agency, and this has a fairly good chance of actually happening.
Ellington, who came over with Marreese Speights in the mid-season deal with the Memphis Grizzlies that also netted the Cavaliers a first-round pick no sooner than in 2015, averaged 10.4 points and 3.4 rebounds in 38 games (17 starts) with the Wine and Gold last season, while shooting 43.9 percent from the field and 37.1 percent from three. In 40 games with the Grizzlies before he was traded to Cleveland, Ellington shot 42.3 percent from long range. Ellington is a good deep threat off the bench, and it would be good for the reserves around him to bring him back to provide a spark in the second unit.
It was also announced on Saturday that Cleveland would not extend a qualifying offer to Omri Casspi as well according to The Plain Dealer, but this move is way less of a shock to Wine and Gold fans. The former Sacramento Kings small forward, who came to Cleveland in the J.J. Hickson deal two offseasons ago, had a pitiful two-season run in the Land. In his first season with the Cavs, Casspi started in 35 of the 65 games he appeared in and averaged 7.1 points and 3.5 rebounds. This season, in which he battled a sickness for most of the year, Casspi averaged 4.0 points and 2.7 rebounds, while shooting 39.4 percent from the field and 32.9 percent from three.