The Point Four-ward: Dollar Dollar Bills, Y’all

nets-caveliers

Four points I’m thinking about the Cleveland Cavaliers…

1.) On Friday, the Cavs and J.R. Smith agreed on a new four-year, $57 million contract, ending another preseason stand-off between the team’s front office and Smith’s agency, Klutch Sports. In the end, both sides can claim they got what they were after, as Smith will receive a reported $45 million in guaranteed money — quite a bump up from the $5 million he made last year — and the Cavs structured the contract to give them a shot at avoiding an even bigger luxury tax hit this year and give them some flexibility in the deal’s final year.

For Cavs fans, all that really matters is that the starting shooting guard from the team’s championship run has returned. Many saw it as a given that Smith would return, which probably slowed the negotiations somewhat, but there was no way the Cavs were letting go a player who was such a great fit. As Terry Pluto wrote in his weekend notes:

Smith is ideal here. They need his 3-point shooting. He can defend shooting guards and most small forwards. He is durable. Only once in the last nine years has he played fewer than 70 games. That was in 2011-12.

Which is not to say that money wasn’t at the center of this deal — on both sides.

2.) While someone above my pay grade would likely have a more nuanced understanding of all of the numbers involved, here’s how I see Smith’s deal shaking out (all salary info per Basketball Insiders):

•With Smith’s deal starting at $12.8 million, should Jordan McRae ($874,636 non-guaranteed) and DeAndre Liggins (just over $1 million non-guaranteed) make the team, the team would be looking at a total salary of $129,292,181 that dwarfs the payroll of the second-highest spending team, the Los Angeles Clippers at a shade under $115 million.

•That total puts the Cavs $16 million dollars over the league’s $113,287,000 luxury tax threshold meaning that the Cavs are in the second-most punitive level of the tax. According to Larry Coon’s Salary Cap FAQs, a team that exceeds the tax level by $15 million-$19,999,999 pays $3.25 for every dollar they are over the cap (after the incremental maximums for the previous… [nods off at keyboard]) . That means that if the Cavs should finish the season with this current roster intact, Dan Gilbert would be on the hook for a tax bill of roughly $32 million. That ain’t nothin’ and it could get worse next year when the Cavs will be in the even more punitive “repeater tax” territory.

3.) Now, what’s sure to get GM David Griffin’s wheels turning, is the fact that if the team can shed roughly $1 million from their payroll, they drop down into the $10 million-$14,999,999 luxury tax bracket where the cost is “just” $2.50 per dollar over the tax threshold. So, for instance, if the Cavs were to find a way to rid themselves of Mo Williams $2,194,500 contract for this year — either through a buyout or in a trade — that could save Gilbert over $6 million dollars this year.

Keeping the team close enough to the next level down in luxury tax penalties had to be on Griffin’s radar as he sat at the negotiating table. It’s not to say that the team is now more likely to buy out the rest of Williams’s contract in order to save that money — or even that the team won’t make a deal that brings on more salary, if they feel like it improves the team — but it can’t hurt for Griffin to be able to look at Gilbert and say, “Look, I’m gonna see if I can save you a few million here or there” without the owner having to take the kind of more obvious cost-cutting measures that Miami owner Micky Arison took that so angered LeBron James when he was with the Heat.

What’s more, even though the Cavs payroll is exorbitantly high, it’s also going to be a pretty known (though still exorbitantly high) quantity going forward. The team’s top eight players, including the entire starting five are locked up through next season, after which both LeBron James and Iman Shumpert have player options they can exercise. Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love are both locked up for three more seasons — before each has a player option in the final year of his deal — and Tristan Thompson is on board for the next four.

Even after Love re-signed with the Cavs last off-season, many thought the team would end up trading him largely because there is value to a player being locked up for multiple years at a known salary. So, while Cavs fans might get to enjoy this starting five for years to come, should Griffin decide to shake things up along the way he’ll have a roster full of contracts that could wind up looking increasingly below market value.

4.) Finally, I just wanted to give a tip of the hat to the Cleveland Indians. Last night, they lost their first game of the postseason, but they still hold a 3-1 series lead against the Toronto Blue Jays, another opponent whose offense should be crushing the Tribe’s battered and depleted pitching staff but (mostly) isn’t. I don’t assume if you’re reading this that you happen to be an Indians fan, as well, but just take a moment to think about what Cleveland sports fans have been treated to over the last four months.

Not only did the Cavs win the city’s first major professional title in 52 years, but they did it by coming back from down 3-1 against a team, led by a two-time MVP, that had just set the record for most regular season wins in league history. You remember that, right?

And, now, to see what the Indians are doing is… it’s just… whew.

It’s been a mighty fun ride.

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EvilGenius
Admin
1 year 11 months ago

Moz-BLOCK on KD!

CLF
Guest
CLF
1 year 11 months ago

Holy crap… Mozerati’s knee looks 10x better!!!

EvilGenius
Admin
1 year 11 months ago

Moz-Dunk on the Dubs!

CLF
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CLF
1 year 11 months ago

Dang!!! LOVE THAT DUNK!!!

NOMAD
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NOMAD
1 year 11 months ago

WOW THE”‘ GOOSEBUMPS ” JUST KEEP ON COMING —-ROOTING FOR L.A. FOR YOU EVIL BUT DEEP DOWN YOU KNOW T.V. WANTS A TRIBE/ CUBS SERIES ——ENDING THE STREAK FOR ONE OF THE TEAMS / CITIES —BELIEVE THAT SERIES WOULD BE ONE OF THE MOST WATCHED SERIES IN A LONG TIME

EvilGenius
Admin
1 year 11 months ago

EvilGenius
Admin
1 year 11 months ago

Nothing like this man’s voice…

JoeyB
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JoeyB
1 year 11 months ago

I’m not sure I’m fully prepared to live in this brave new world where Cleveland is good at sports.

So thank you, Browns, for keeping my head from exploding. :)

JMay
Editor
1 year 11 months ago

Honestly I’m kind of just surreal I don’t really know what to do.

EvilGenius
Admin
1 year 11 months ago

Root for the Dodgers so me and JoeyB can go see Game 3 at Chavez Ravine!

JoeyB
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JoeyB
1 year 11 months ago

That just made me drool. Seriously.

JMay
Editor
1 year 11 months ago

Oh I am EG! Fingers crossed for you guys!

NOMAD
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NOMAD
1 year 11 months ago

REALLY LOVE / EMBRACING LEBRON’S MOTTO : ” IT’S CLEVELAND AGAINST THE WORLD ” —–THERE IS SO MUCH PRIDE AND FIGHT IN THIS CITY !!!

NOMAD
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NOMAD
1 year 11 months ago

NICE MESSAGE FROM ” UNCLE DAN ” TOO

NOMAD
Guest
NOMAD
1 year 11 months ago

YEAH YOU ARE RIGHT BUT THE ARGONAUTS WOULD BEAT THE BROWNS

EvilGenius
Admin
1 year 11 months ago

NOMAD
Guest
NOMAD
1 year 11 months ago

GREAT TO SEE LEBRON / CAVS SUPPORT —-DO THE BROWNS PLAY THIS WEEK—-DO WE EVEN CARE

NOMAD
Guest
NOMAD
1 year 11 months ago

WHAT A LATE SEASON PICK UP COCO HAS BEEN

Phil Hubbard
Member
Phil Hubbard
1 year 11 months ago

Francona on the podium. Host says, “Just one or two more [questions].” Francona says, “I’ll talk all night, Phyllis, I don’t care.”

NOMAD
Guest
NOMAD
1 year 11 months ago

JUST TALKED TO MY FATHER ( 93 YRS OLD ) AND HE IS IN TEARS ( ME TOO ) SO HAPPY FOR HIM TO HAVE A YEAR LIKE THIS !!!!-

EvilGenius
Admin
1 year 11 months ago

What a night to be in CLEVELAND!!

EvilGenius
Admin
1 year 11 months ago

Phil Hubbard
Member
Phil Hubbard
1 year 11 months ago

Cavs are off next Wednesday — maybe they can find their way to Progressive for Game 2 of the Series.

NOMAD
Guest
NOMAD
1 year 11 months ago

MAYBE HE LOOKS YOUNG BECAUSE WE ARE ( AT LEAST MYSELF ) ARE SO OLD

EvilGenius
Admin
1 year 11 months ago

Ha! I’m up there with you NOMAD!

EvilGenius
Admin
1 year 11 months ago

NOMAD
Guest
NOMAD
1 year 11 months ago

PARTY AT NAPS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

EvilGenius
Admin
1 year 11 months ago

Is Ryan Merritt like 18 years old? He looks so young! He’s the new Chad Ogea!

NOMAD
Guest
NOMAD
1 year 11 months ago

WHAT IS THE NAME OF THE MILWAUKEE CATCHER THAT DIDN’T WANT TO COME TO CLEVELAND AND BE PART OF THIS —-EAT SH-T—WE DON’T WANT YOU WE HAVE MILLER TIME INSTEAD –THANK YOU FOR NOT COMING HERE AND GAVE US A CHANCE TO GO BETTER BOTH PLAYER AND PERSON

EvilGenius
Admin
1 year 11 months ago

Here was his Tweet back then… LOL

EvilGenius
Admin
1 year 11 months ago

My LORD I wish I was in CLEVELAND! What a time to be a fan of these teams!!!

EvilGenius
Admin
1 year 11 months ago

NOMAD
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NOMAD
1 year 11 months ago

RIGHT ON PHIL —MIGHT JUST GO DOWNTOWN CLEVLAND TO BE PART OF THE ATMOSHERE —WHAT A GREAT TIME TO BE A CLEVELAND FAN —-WIPING AWAY ALL THE GHOSTS OF THE PAST

Phil Hubbard
Member
Phil Hubbard
1 year 11 months ago

Phil Hubbard
Member
Phil Hubbard
1 year 11 months ago

Next Tuesday will be a great night for the city of Cleveland! Banner and ring night at the Q, opening game of the World Series at Progressive.

NOMAD
Guest
NOMAD
1 year 11 months ago

” IN THE LAND ” LET’S START THE PARTY ALL OVER

Phil Hubbard
Member
Phil Hubbard
1 year 11 months ago

#2in16

Phil Hubbard
Member
Phil Hubbard
1 year 11 months ago

Everybody leave Bauer’s pinky alone during the celebrations, ok?

Phil Hubbard
Member
Phil Hubbard
1 year 11 months ago

Tribe wins! On to the World Series!

EvilGenius
Admin
1 year 11 months ago

Hammy’s got a violent streak…

Phil Hubbard
Member
Phil Hubbard
1 year 11 months ago

On to the 9th. Miller could probably finish the game if Francona asked him to.

EvilGenius
Admin
1 year 11 months ago

I’d probably do it, but Francona knows the right buttons to push…

Phil Hubbard
Member
Phil Hubbard
1 year 11 months ago

Nice play by Lindor deep in the hole.

EvilGenius
Admin
1 year 11 months ago

Lindor is just incredible…

daspec90
Guest
daspec90
1 year 11 months ago

Definitely.

Phil Hubbard
Member
Phil Hubbard
1 year 11 months ago

Miller has 5 outs on 13 pitches. Should have plenty left to pitch the 8th.

EvilGenius
Admin
1 year 11 months ago

Gotta love the King’s support…

EvilGenius
Admin
1 year 11 months ago

Whew! That was a close one!

Phil Hubbard
Member
Phil Hubbard
1 year 11 months ago

The wind must have been blowing in.

NOMAD
Guest
NOMAD
1 year 11 months ago

BACK TO BASKETBALL RUMORS SPURS COULD TRADE ALDRIDGE —WOULD YOU TRADE LOVE / ANOTHER PLATER OR DRAFT PICK FOR HIM ?—GO TRIBE

EvilGenius
Admin
1 year 11 months ago

No way… Aldridge is 31 and doesn’t shoot threes…

NOMAD
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NOMAD
1 year 11 months ago

YANK ( THE BUM ) MILLER —HE DIDN’T RECORD ANY STRIKE OUTS —–GO TRIBE

EvilGenius
Admin
1 year 11 months ago

Although I’m a big fan of getting two outs with one pitch…

EvilGenius
Admin
1 year 11 months ago

Miller Time…

Phil Hubbard
Member
Phil Hubbard
1 year 11 months ago

One pitch, and he gets an inning-ending double play!

Phil Hubbard
Member
Phil Hubbard
1 year 11 months ago

I’m surprised at the quick hook from Francona after Merritt gives up a bloop single in the 5th. But almost everything he’s done has worked out this postseason.

EvilGenius
Admin
1 year 11 months ago

Kid did a HELL of a job!

Phil Hubbard
Member
Phil Hubbard
1 year 11 months ago

Merritt finally allows a hit, falls behind Encarnacion 3-0, but gets him on a double play. Tribe up 3-0 through 4.

EvilGenius
Admin
1 year 11 months ago

Cols714
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Cols714
1 year 11 months ago

Thanks!

Cols714
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Cols714
1 year 11 months ago

It’s really weird how the LeBron led title has reset my mentality for the Indians. Usually I’d be panicking over yesterday’s loss, but because LeBron ended the Cleveland curse, I’m pretty calm. I think the Tribe has this series.

TheOtherJason
Member
TheOtherJason
1 year 11 months ago

Does the tax really work the way you imply? I assumed it worked more like income taxes – where you’re only taxed at the higher rate for the amount of money in the bracket. So the $3.25 rate would only hit money over $15mm; lower rates would apply to lower brackets.

JMay
Editor
1 year 11 months ago

http://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/17790252/golden-state-draymond-green-problem This is an interesting article. A lot I didn’t know the full story about in here. This is, in my opinion, going to be the hardest part of the GS season. Now that Draymond has reached such great heights, how is he going to react physically, emotionally, and mentally, when he has to take his foot off the gas to allow Durant some leverage? How will Durant, a very outwardly passive person, when Draymond gets in his face and goes off? What happens when everyone blames any struggles on Green’s inability to be as effective as last year? Hoping this all blows up in a marvelously gigantic spectacle. I won’t apologize either. Green is, by all accounts, the exact type of person that I actively seek to avoid in my every day life.

EvilGenius
Admin
1 year 11 months ago
I certainly have no love for Draymond… but I do respect how hard he plays, and he was still man enough to walk over and congratulate the Cavs last year after they won which showed a lot more maturity than his “yup/nope” speech after the Dubs won the previous year… I disagree that he’s a ticking timebomb off the court. He’s made some mistakes, but the barfight is probably the most egregious one. On the court, he hurts his team with his behavior in that they often lead to technicals that mount up and eventually cause him to miss games. I don’t subscribe to the narrative that the Warriors would have won if not for his suspension, but I know a lot of Dubs fans who do… One thing I will agree with JMay on here is how Durant will deal with Green’s personality. By all accounts they are close, since it was Dray who heavily recruited KD through the season… but being friends with someone is different than working with them day in and day out… That said, I’m all for the media microscope to be on the Warriors this season… Let the pundits and the other GMs make… Read more »
Warriors Fan
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Warriors Fan
1 year 11 months ago

+1, liked your opinion.

About Durant dealing with Draymond, he dealt with Westbrook for so many years, this will be a welcome change, especially since Curry and Klay there to share Draymond’s ire. Durant is a very smart guy, he knows what he is getting into. If you have time, worth the read about Durant.

http://www.rollingstone.com/sports/features/kevin-durant-had-to-blow-up-his-life-to-get-his-shot-w445344

Warriors Fan
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Warriors Fan
1 year 11 months ago

That is click bait article. Ethan just preferred to see in negative light. Team takes on Green’s intensity. The downside, as warriors fans feared last year, would be suspensions as it happened in last year’s finals. Everyone in warriors loves Draymond. Kerr will continue to check on him to get the desired results. Draymond has lot of respect for Kerr.

Cols714
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Cols714
1 year 11 months ago

Eh. Whatever to that team. Remember last year when all the talk was about how they were deep and loved playing together and strength in numbers? It’s all gone. They are now the villains with Green as their lead. Dude will probably wilt under the pressure of it all the same way Curry melted down last Finals.

Warriors Fan
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Warriors Fan
1 year 11 months ago

lol. When do you ever realize, you don’t make any sense.

Cols714
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Cols714
1 year 11 months ago

When do you ever realize you are posting on the NBA Champion Cleveland Cavs blog?

Nate Smith
Admin
1 year 11 months ago

Thanks for posting that. I really enjoyed it. I definitely both empathize with and revile Draymond. On the court, I have played like him: with unrepentant rage. It can help you push through boundaries, or it can be a toxic stew. Over time, it wears on everyone and they just want out. Walton’s absence from the Warriors will hurt. He was a glue guy as a coach, and his ability to sublimate his ego for the good of the team helped him as a player, even in his Cavalier year.

Hot Sauce
Guest
Hot Sauce
1 year 11 months ago

I view this story as the ultimate example of media narrative creation. Draymond is Draymond, and no one said anything about any of these incidents undermining the team last year. Now that the Ws lost in the Finals, and have added Durant, the media has an incentive to highlight some of their warts. Its going to be a season long drama. They are just setting it up now. But I think it is nothing new — Draymond is an intense dude and the Ws have had to manage that issue for awhile now, and generally its much more good than bad.

It’s reminds of the Cavs the last two years — every team has personalities and ego fights behind close doors. The media mostly ignores it. But if you become a high profile team, the media takes all of the standard locker room fodder that exists for every team, and tries to spin it into some existential crisis in which the team teters on the edge of imploding at all moments.

I will say — it sure would be nice if the media left us alone this year and shifted to GSW.

Raoul
Guest
Raoul
1 year 11 months ago

There have been many examples great athletes who are head cases. J.R. is the rare example of one who quit being crazy and became just real good. It is much more common to get crazier as they get older and skills erode.

Just this morning I heard a roundtable of ESPN talkers yammering on about how the Warriors were unbeatable. (Two did say the Cavs could beat them). Most said Durant would integrate in “seamlessly” and nothing could go wrong. But there is always plenty that could go wrong. Injuries. No one knows if Durant can play with a good team. And Green could sulk, or even go ape.

The Cavs are looking pretty good.

Warriors Fan
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Warriors Fan
1 year 11 months ago

+1

JMay
Editor
1 year 11 months ago

After all, there are plenty of articles like these http://thelab.bleacherreport.com/operation-stop-the-warriors/ who are basically implying that the warriors will just win every game there is this season…

JMay
Editor
1 year 11 months ago

I think the moral of the story isn’t “they’ve succeeded and he’s been the same the whole time.” It’s “Is this a ticking time bomb.” Of course, I agree with you to a degree. Our past two seasons have been viewed through a microscope and every little minuscule thing was dissected by the media. At the same time though, that obviously impacted our team. You can’t ignore the fact that it may indeed influence GS as well. Just because we came out of it insulated and champions doesn’t mean that it won’t blow up in their faces. After all, there is no stabilizing LeBron to keep JR’s head out of his own bum over there.

Hot Sauce
Guest
Hot Sauce
1 year 11 months ago

JMay — I totally agree that the COVERAGE of this type of stuff can impact teams. I think GSW may struggle a bit adjusting to the coverage. They have been the media darlings for so long. Now we are going to see negative stories like this.

But I think the notion that he is a “ticking time bomb” is hyperbolic media creation. The Cavs — to their credit — know this game well and do a great job of just blocking it out.

Cols714
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Cols714
1 year 11 months ago

Haha. What a miserable bunch in Golden State.

EvilGenius
Admin
1 year 11 months ago

Awesome stuff Robert!

Mike Podracky
Guest
1 year 11 months ago

Cavs Dan has put his money where his proverbial mouth and comi sans script have been. A first rate owner to say the least. And kudos to the Indians, that’s for sure. I attended Game Two against Toronto. The Browns are hopeless, and several years ago, I gave up season tickets that had been in the family for over 50 years. Front row 50 yard line. I literally haven’t watched one play of the Browns season.

Raoul
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Raoul
1 year 11 months ago

Come on Mike, we stuck with the Indians through the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, and early 90’s.

Cols714
Guest
Cols714
1 year 11 months ago

Mad props to Griffin and Gilbert for keeping this team together and also for paying the players what they are worth instead of nickel and diming to save a few bucks.

JMay
Editor
1 year 11 months ago

In this case, your assumption (had you made it) would have been correct. Go Tribe! As for the rest, thank the basketball gods @cavsdan has deep pockets.

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