The Cavs-Collin Sexton situation could have a ways to go it seems

Collin Sexton, Cleveland Cavaliers. Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images
Collin Sexton, Cleveland Cavaliers. Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images /

When the Cleveland Cavaliers exercised a qualifying offer for $7.2 million for Collin Sexton, ensuring he’d be a restricted free agent this offseason, it was a no-brainer. The team wanting to match a potential offer sheet, if one were to come, was standard operating procedure for a player that can produce the way he can.

With other rumored possible suitors such as the Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers and San Antonio Spurs seemingly addressing guard needs in the 2022 NBA Draft, though, and others doing so via other avenues, the offers haven’t been there for Sexton.

It didn’t help for Sexton’s case that he’s coming off a season where he only appeared in 11 games, either, because of a torn meniscus. Sexton should reportedly be ready for the start of next season, and he seems healthy now, which is very encouraging. It’s another thing to see how he is in game action ultimately, but Sexton has not had much of an injury history of note.

Either way, it was unfortunate for Sexton how last season went for him, and there was reportedly a contract extension offer of $100 million before the extension deadline last offseason for him. It was rumored that the Cavaliers and Sexton/his representation just couldn’t agree on years, as the team wanted that for five and Sexton/his representation, then Austin Brown of CAA Sports, were aiming for that via four-year extension.

The extension didn’t get done then, but it still seemed that both sides could eventually get something done. They still could, too, and Sexton does reportedly have interest in being with the team long-term.

That said, per a report from Chris Fedor of (subscription required), the Cavaliers offered Sexton a three-year deal for $”around 40 million”, of which Sexton/his representation, now Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, declined. That’s clearly in a different stratosphere compensation-wise from the past extension offer from last season. This was based on the injury from last season, others involved and the team reportedly not willing to go into luxury tax territory as a result of a Sexton new deal.

Furthermore, it appears as if the situation could have a ways to go it seems, as per a report from Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium (subscription required), negotiations could go into training camp, and perhaps even into the upcoming season.

The Cavs-Sexton situation feels like a true stalemate that could be a ways away from a resolution, as far as this offseason is concerned.

As we’ve alluded to, it’s tough to say around when things could result in a new deal for Sexton with the Cavs, and there’s reportedly a “real chance” he could play out next season via the $7.2 million qualifying offer. The Wine and Gold don’t want to go into luxury tax territory to ensure Sexton is around long-term via new deal, and other factors, such as the lack of market for Sexton, and the injury last season complicate things.

Now, if the Cavaliers were to clear some room away from luxury tax territory, and are able to offload Cedi Osman and/or Dylan Windler, maybe with a second-round pick attached in a trade elsewhere, that could help, as many have suggested. Both of those players will be expiring players after next season, considering Osman’s deal for 2023-24 is non-guaranted.

Cleveland is currently at a max of 15 rostered players at the moment; it is the offseason, and they have time to address those things for Sexton, but it is worth noting about the roster numbers.

All things considered, though, I do personally believe it’d help the Cavs to have Sexton locked up for years to come, given how he can help the team in a big way when healthy. It’d be great for him to be around, and he could take pressure off of guys such as Darius Garland and Evan Mobley, in my opinion.

I acknowledge that there are still some question marks about Sexton, and in his 10.5 games last season, it was apparent that he was still going to take time to adjusting to much more of an off-ball role. His numbers were way down across the board early on last season, he had an assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.1-to-2.8, and he shot just 24.2 percent from three-point range. I get there’s defensive questions as well, and at times, he can have tunnel vision, as young, score-first guards can be prone to having.

However, Sexton, who will still only turn 24 during next season, demonstrated growth as a secondary playmaker, in particular, in his third season. And despite the splits not showing it, he was making further strides as a ball-mover early on last season pre-injury. Overdribbling was still a crutch at times, but the newer role likely played some into that.

Anyhow, while there’s others involved from here, and at least next season, it’s tough to foresee Sexton having 24.3 points per game, as he did in 2020-21, he still can be a significant piece for these Cavs. There reportedly is mutual interest from both sides in him being a long-term guy with Cleveland, too.

Even with that being the case, that reported offer of $13.3 million on average per season via three-year deal is not nearly what Sexton/his camp is looking for, and I get that. That’s rumored to be in the ball park of seemingly $20-21 million per year.

Sexton is a hell of an offensive talent, and to me, he has far more viability as an off-ball contributor than Caris LeVert conversely, as Sexton has shown notable growth as a catch-and-shoot player, and his cutting feel improved greatly over time. I firmly believe there’s more to come in those areas from him, too, and with far better around him now, the off-ball development could be taken steps further in years to come.

But, time will tell if he’ll have enough time to hone in on those areas of his game, in relation to that being with the Cavaliers in this sense.

The aforementioned LeVert reportedly likely to be the starting 2 heading into next season, albeit with training camp to ultimately decide, and if that does play out, it’s uncertain as to what Sexton’s role will exactly be it appears. There’s others involved of as well, regarding Isaac Okoro, Ochai Agbaji, Ricky Rubio, when he’s back, for example, and involving the LeVert element, he’s extension-eligible this offseason, also.

The gist is, with how things have been going, it seems as if there’s a ways to go before a resolution could be on the horizon on the Cavs-Sexton front.

And while he could potentially just play next season with the Cavaliers for the qualifying offer and be due to hit unrestricted free agency next summer, it would still be more sensible for both sides to come to an agreement, I believe, sooner rather than later for clarity. Maybe a sign-and-trade down the road still could be a possibility, or perhaps Sexton could be a deadline trade piece for during next season, alternatively, or maybe he simply comes off the books next offseason.

As we’ve essentially hit on, given the number of factors, it just seems as if we could very well be a ways away from this situation being resolved. Plus, Sexton having the same representation as Darius Garland, who was just signed via rookie max extension, is feasibly another factor in this storyline.

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The overarching takeaway from recent reports, at least, is how this situation could take a while to be resolved, or if he’ll just play next season on the QO.