The Cavaliers guard – yes, Cavaliers guard (keep reading) – underwent surgery on his troublesome left knee, posting a message that seems spiteful at the Cavs:
Since Williams never filed his retirement papers with the league, according to a source, he still counts on the Cavs’ 15-man roster.
There’s no incentive for Williams to file retirement papers. He’s still under contract with a $2,194,500 salary this season. Officially retiring would forfeit any chance of getting any of that money.
All along, I’ve said the Cavaliers shouldn’t pay Williams. That his salary is guaranteed means only so much. If a player doesn’t report, his team doesn’t have to pay him. Williams has not been practicing with the team since training camp began.
But Williams might have found a way to force Cleveland’s hand.
What does reporting look like for someone who just underwent surgery? Is it fair to ask Williams to be in the facility every day as he recovers? It seems Williams is now doing exactly what any other player in his position would do. (Notice he noted a longer recovery period.) If Williams is handling his business like any other player in his position, he should get paid.
At some point, this could get even more contentious. The Cavs could say he should return and suspend him if he doesn’t. Williams could claim he’s still injured.
More likely, both sides agree to a buyout in time to clear a regular-season roster spot. Williams gets a portion of his salary for doing no work, and the Cavaliers save what they can on their luxury-tax bill.
But this isn’t over yet, and Williams has certainly added a layer of complexity.