The Cavaliers left the NBA draft with three second-round picks, but it seems Cleveland will begin the season without any of them.
The third, Sir’Dominic Pointer, is headed to the D-League.
Sir’Dominic Pointer, the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 53rd pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, will play for the Canton Charge of the NBA Development League, a league source informed Northeast Ohio Media Group.
Pointer, 23, will not attend training camp with the Cavaliers and instead will report to Canton once its camp opens up, the source said.
The Cavaliers have 13 players with guaranteed salaries plus Tristan Thompson, Jared Cunningham and Quinn Cook. On a max contract or qualifying offer – or maybe even something between – Thompson will almost certainly be in Cleveland next season. That’ll give the Cavs 14 guaranteed salaries.
By declining to take the required tender – a one-year contract, surely unguaranteed at the minimum, a team must offer to retain rights to a second-round pick – Pointer is doing the Cavaliers a favor. He’s allowing them to keep his rights for a year without having to pay him or find him a roster spot. He’s even going to their D-League affiliate, accepting piddly wages rather than pursuing a more-lucrative deal overseas, to give Cleveland greater control of his development.
Perhaps, Pointer agreed to play in the D-League on a condition of being drafted. Maybe the Cavaliers promised him a better-than-tender contract next summer.
But if Pointer had forced the issue and taken the required tender, he surely would have gone to training camp with Cleveland. There, he would have competed with Cunningham and Cook for the final regular-season roster spot. Pointer would have been the underdog, but maybe he would have beaten those two. If not, the Cavaliers would have waived him, which still would have put him in better position. He could negotiate with any NBA team for a contract at that point.
As is, he can negotiate with only Cleveland – which doesn’t have room for him.
That could change next season, or Pointer might be wasting a year helping a franchise that’s not paying him now and might not ever.