Executives and agents around the league are convinced the Cavaliers won’t do anything to jeopardize their ability to sign a free agent to a max contract during the summer of 2014, when LeBron James can again become a free agent. As fans in Northeast Ohio continue to howl and remain divided about the possibility of his return, more and more people around the league believe there is a strong possibility James will indeed return to Cleveland after next season.
The Cavs are well aware of this, too, and won’t take on a bad contract if it compromises their cap space in two years. That means any bad contract they would obtain in a potential trade would have to expire after next season. It doesn’t make a deal impossible, but it dramatically reduces the field — and it decreases the price the Cavs can command since their future obligations would be brief.
The Cavs previously tried this method using the $14.5 million trade exception originally obtained in the deal that sent James to Miami, but ultimately let it expire because they couldn’t find a deal to their liking.
The amnesty clause has also hindered their chances of making a deal. While teams still have to pay players waived under the amnesty clause, it has removed a heavy cap burden from teams while allowing them to preserve draft picks.
All of this means for the first time since 2009, the Cavs will likely let the trade deadline pass quietly. They obtained Antawn Jamison at the deadline three years ago when they were the best team in the East, flipped Mo Williams in the deal that ultimately brought Irving to Cleveland two years ago and last year traded Ramon Sessions to the Lakers on deadline day. Five years ago, they pulled off a blockbuster three-team, 11-player deal one minute prior to the deadline that dramatically reshaped their roster. Don’t expect anything like that this year.
Jason Lloyd/Akron Beacon Journal