This summer will be a defining time for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
It’s obvious that the state of the franchise completely hinges on whatever decision LeBron James makes. If he stays, the team will most likely continue their winning ways next year after appearing in four-straight Finals.
But if he leaves, Cleveland would be in a world of trouble. Not only would they lose one of the best players in NBA history (again), but a rebuild would be extremely difficult due to all of the money that’s tied up through the 2019-2020 season.
In fact, Kevin Love (owed $24.1 and $25.6 million over the next two years), George Hill ($19 and then $18 million), Tristan Thompson ($17.5 and $18.5 million), JR Smith ($14.7 and $15.7 million), Jordan Clarkson ($12.5 and $13.4 million) and Kyle Korver ($7.5 and $7.5 million) are all signed to lucrative deals through the next two seasons.
Therefore, if James leaves, offloading some or all of those contracts might prove to be very difficult.
Regardless of if LeBron stays or goes, the team has its eyes on giving one young player a multi-year extension.
Part of the future
On July 1, the Cavaliers can negotiate with Larry Nance Jr. on an extension. Entering the final year of his rookie contract, Nance will have a $2.3 million cap hit next season.
Averaging 8.9 points and 7.0 rebounds per game after joining the Cavaliers following a mid-season trade from the Los Angeles Lakers, Nance only put up 4.8 points and 4.5 rebounds in the playoffs and didn’t see consistent minutes in coach Tyronn Lue’s rotation.
But, it appears as though Cleveland thinks highly of the young forward. After all, his father is a Cavs legend.
“Multiple league sources told cleveland.com there is ‘a ton’ of interest on both sides to discuss an extension for Nance, who is 25 and is the son of former Cavs great Larry Nance Sr. The son grew up here, went to Revere High School, and the Cavs traded a No. 1 pick to acquire him and Jordan Clarkson,” Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com recently reported.
“The Cavs have expressed to Nance that they view him as a foundational piece,” Vardon added.
Cleveland can offer Nance a four-year extension which would mean that he’d have five more years with the team (since he still has that final rookie year remaining). Although he could be offered a max deal, both sides would likely settle somewhere in between next year’s $2.3 million mark and the maximum amount (around $25 million).
Or, as always, Cleveland could let him play out next season and allow him to enter restricted free agency next summer. Then, they’d be able to match any offer that he’d get on the open market in order to keep him. But, it might come at a steeper price if he carves out a more prominent role next season.