A year ago, Collin Sexton looked like a potential max player. He’d just averaged 24.3 points per game in his third NBA season, and with Evan Mobley inbound, it wasn’t hard to imagine him at the front of a Cavaliers renaissance. Instead, he suffered a torn meniscus and missed most of the season. Darius Garland supplanted him as Cleveland’s primary ball-handler, and the Cavaliers made it back to the postseason without him.
Now Sexton’s future is up in the air. As a restricted free agent, he has been sitting on the open market for nearly a month without a strong offer. Coming into the offseason, reports indicated that he’d hoped for a $20 million per year deal. None has materialized. Cleveland.com’s Chris Fedor reported on the Wine & Gold Talk Podcast that the Cavaliers do have an offer on the table to retain Sexton, but it’s not one that he is likely to accept. According to Fedor, Cleveland’s current offer is roughly $40 million over three seasons.
Such a deal would pay Sexton above the mid-level exception, but it would be far below what a point guard of his ilk makes. An average salary of $13.3 million per year would make Sexton the 30th-highest-paid point guard in the NBA behind players like Markelle Fultz and Tyus Jones. Neither has accomplished nearly as much as an individual player.
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But the rules of restricted free agency severely limited Sexton’s market when free agency began. Cleveland reserves the right to match any offer made to Sexton, and they’d have two full days to do it, so no team with cap space was going to risk taking themselves out of the early free agency derby for a player they might not be able to secure. Now only two teams with cap space remain: the Indiana Pacers and San Antonio Spurs. Unless one of them makes Sexton an offer, a sign-and-trade is his only way out of Cleveland at the moment.
An alternative for Sexton would be to sign the one-year qualifying offer Cleveland had to make him in order to retain his restricted rights. Doing so would make him an unrestricted free agent next offseason, free to sign with whatever team he chooses. It wouldn’t be a perfect option, but right now, there isn’t much more on the table for Cleveland’s young guard.