Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert has spent freely to put a contender around LeBron James, retaining key pieces from last season’s Finals run and adding Mo Williams. But Cleveland isn’t done making moves yet: they still have a few decisions to make about players who were on their roster last year, and according to a new report, they’re undecided about bringing over Russian big man Sasha Kaun, whose rights they own.
The Cavaliers “aren’t in a hurry” to make a decision on Russian center Sasha Kaun, a league source told the Northeast Ohio Media Group.
Cleveland front office personnel dined with the 7-foot Kaun Friday night in Las Vegas after he watched the team’s Summer League finale courtside with LeBron James and coach David Blatt, among others.
The Cavs control Kaun’s NBA rights and could pay him at least the veteran’s minimum of $525,000, in addition to the roughly $1.3 million left of the team’s taxpayer’s salary cap exception, if they so chose. They invited Kaun to Las Vegas to start the dialogue about possibly playing for Cleveland next season.
The Cavs can offer Kaun $1.3 million, but even that reasonable amount of money will carry a hefty luxury tax bill. They still have yet to re-sign Tristan Thompson, J.R. Smith and Matthew Dellavedova, all of whom are likely to be back. And with new deals already signed for LeBron James, Kevin Love and Iman Shumpert, plus Kyrie Irving’s $90 million extension kicking in, Cleveland’s payroll is already at $88 million just on deals they’ve already completed. Thompson’s inevitable deal at close to max will bring things well over $100 million, and Smith will probably command a sizeable deal as well. It might make more sense for the Cavs to wait until next summer, when the salary cap is much higher, to bring over Kaun. He probably won’t play much this year anyway.