Chris Andersen

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Mavericks waive Deron Williams, he’s expected to sign in Cleveland as free agent

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Hey LeBron James, here’s your backup point guard.

The Cavaliers cleared out a roster spot a couple of weeks ago letting Chris Andersen go, that was all about creating a space for a quality player waived by another team to come in.

How about Deron Williams? The Dallas Mavericks waived him just after the deadline passed on Thursday, the team announced.

Multiple reports say that once he clears waivers, he plans to sign with the Cavaliers.

It makes sense, Williams gets to contend for a title and will make a lot of playoff money with the run the Cavaliers make to the Finals (more than $300,000 if they get that far).

At age 32, Williams has accepted a smaller role and evolved from elite into a solid NBA point guard, averaging 13.1 points and 6.8 assists per game this season and shooting 34.8 percent from three. He’s more a floor general than a dynamic scorer anymore, and he’s not a great defender, but he will be perfect in the 15-20 minutes a night he has to play with Kyrie Irving resting.

Cleveland also is expected to make a run at landing Andrew Bogut, who the Sixers will waive in the coming day.

PBT Extra: A few big men have been traded, but will teams make moves for Okafor, Ibaka?

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Chris Andersen has been dealt to Charlotte, but just to clear some roster space for the Cavaliers next move.

Portland traded center Mason Plumlee and a 2018 second round pick to Denver in exchange for Jusuf Nurkic and a 2017 first round pick, a deal that isn’t exactly moving the needle for either side (but I like a little better for Portland).

But the big deals for big men are still lurking, and that’s what I discuss in this latest PBT Extra.

Will Orlando lower the price enough on Serge Ibaka for other teams to jump in? How soon before Jahlil Okafor gets dealt (that seems a certainty, the only questions are when and where)?

Cavaliers trade Chris Andersen, cash to Hornets

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LeBron James is reportedly upset the Cavaliers aren’t spending enough.

This is a step in the right direction.

Cleveland is done devoting a roster spot to Chris Andersen, who’s out for the season due to injury.

Cavaliers release:

The Cleveland Cavaliers have traded center Chris Andersen and cash considerations to Charlotte for a protected second round pick

Andersen is owed $334,500 by his team the rest of the season. Presumably, the Cavs will cover that amount plus send Charlotte additional cash for its troubles.

The Cavaliers would’ve paid a hefty luxury tax on Andersen’s salary if they waived him themselves. The Hornets can waive Andersen and pay only his remaining salary.

Simply, Andersen would’ve cost Cleveland more than he’ll cost Charlotte. So, both teams come out ahead financially. (The losers are the non-taxpaying teams that would’ve received more in luxury-tax payments if the Cavs had a higher payroll.)

The second-round pick is likely top-55 protecting and included just to fulfill a requirement that each team in a trade receive and send out something.

Given their position as a title contender, the Cavaliers will likely put this savings right back in the team. They signed Derrick Williams with their vacant roster spot, and this opens another. Maybe the next moving is inking workout-winner Jordan Farmar?

Report: Cavaliers working out Lance Stephenson, Mario Chalmers, Kirk Hinrich, more

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LeBron James complaining about the Cavaliers’ lack of spending wasn’t necessarily about making a big splash by trading for Carmelo Anthony. LeBron also wasn’t griping about money allocated to his guys: J.R. Smith, Tristan Thompson, James Jones.

There are common-sense moves Cleveland — which is down to nine healthy players with at least 100 career games of experience — can make to shore up its depth.

The Cavs have an open roster spot and could easily create another by waiving Chris Andersen, who’s on a one-year contract and out for the year. Sure, paying additional players would come with a cost, including luxury-tax payments. But it always seemed these were the fringe additions LeBron, who’s leading the NBA with 37.5 minutes per game, was prioritizing — especially at point guard.

Maybe the Cavaliers are finally answering his call.

Chris Haynes of ESPN:

There are a few other free agent prospects that are expected to attend the session as well, sources say. Depending on how well the participants perform, sources with knowledge of the Cavaliers’ thinking believe one of them could be signed prior to the All-Star break.

Veteran point guards Mario Chalmers and Kirk Hinrich, along with wing Lance Stephenson are scheduled to work out for the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday in hopes of inking a deal, league sources informed ESPN.

Chalmers, a teammate of LeBron on the Heat, was playing extremely well for the Grizzlies before tearing his Achilles last March. If he’s healthy, he’d be my top choice.

Stephenson is also recovering from injury, and he’ll have to overcome a checkered history with LeBron. Presumably, the Cavs wouldn’t have even invited Stephenson to the workout without LeBron’s blessing. Stephenson is talented and just 26, but he has mostly been lousy and sulky since leaving the Pacers (a brief stretch in Memphis excepted). Before signing him, I’d want a clear understanding of why he was so good in Indiana and so bad elsewhere and a confidence that my team could duplicate the Pacers’ environment. I would not chance signing him without both those elements.

The 36-year-old Hinrich has been washed up for years.

Report: LeBron James upset that Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert not spending enough

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When I wrote that LeBron James – who has been sounding off about the Cavaliers’ roster – held frustrations with the Heat’s roster that contributed to him leaving Miami, I didn’t elaborate on all the circumstances. It wasn’t just that the Heat failed to build a supporting cast that satisfied LeBron. It was that they didn’t spend as much as LeBron desired.

But maybe there is no distinction between that situation and Cleveland’s.

Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

Tension between LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers’ leadership is centered around payroll spending, multiple sources told ESPN.

James and team owner Dan Gilbert have different viewpoints on the issue and it has been straining the relationship, sources said.

When James was considering returning to the Cavs in 2014, James pressed Gilbert on if he’d be willing to spend unconditionally on talent regardless of the luxury tax cost, sources said. Over the course of several meetings with James and his representatives, Gilbert agreed and James subsequently signed with the team.

The Cavaliers have the NBA’s highest payroll. They’re on track to spend $154,616,543 – $127,519,873 in player salaries and $27,096,670 in luxury tax – this season. They also had the NBA’s highest payroll last year. In LeBron’s first season back, they ranked second in payroll and paid the luxury tax, no small feat considering they dipped far below the salary cap the prior offseason to sign him and the system is designed to limit a quick escalation of team salary.

By any reasonable standard, Gilbert is spending abundantly.

But LeBron is under no obligation to hold reasonable standards.

Many believed it was unreasonable for LeBron to play again for Gilbert, who attacked the superstar personally and with racist undertones in his infamous letter. If LeBron demanded limitless financial commitment from Gilbert to return, it was up to Gilbert to agree or not. And if Gilbert did, LeBron can hold him to that standard.

Even with Cleveland’s monstrous payroll, there’s room for more spending.

Despite LeBron’s repeated pleas for another point guard, the Cavs have held an open roster spot for weeks. There aren’t great options available – Norris Cole, Ray McCallum, Will Bynum, Kirk Hinrich, Kendall Marshall, Andre Miller – but it seems LeBron just wants someone who can eat up a few minutes per game. While Cleveland waits, Ronnie Price, Chasson Randle and Pierre Jackson have been taken off the market by 10-day contracts. The Cavaliers will probably eventually sign someone, but why the delay? They save about $20,000 in salary and luxury tax each day the roster spot goes unfilled.

Meanwhile, the Cavs continues to carry Chris Andersen, who’s on a one-year contract and out for the season. Waiving him would allow them to sign a second player who can help the team now – but would also mean double-dipping in cost, as they’d have to eat Andersen’s salary. It’s always possible they can trade him to another team that would pay him. The same went for Mo Williams, who filled a roster spot despite being de facto retired until Cleveland unloaded him in the Kyle Korver trade – another deal that saved money. Taking Williams was a burden on the Hawks, and if they didn’t have to do that, perhaps they would have accepted less-favorable protections on the draft pick they received.

The Cavaliers also have two trade exceptions worth more than $4 million each. Packaging one with a draft pick could land a helpful player, though such a trade would also add substantially to the Cavs’ luxury tax. It’s worth noting that, in the Korver trade, Cleveland essentially chose to have these two trade exceptions that would last into next season rather than a single trade exception that could add a much-pricier player but only this season.

So, I see why this would upset LeBron, who has little to no margin for error against the star-studded Warriors. With the Cavaliers’ lackluster depth, he’s playing an NBA-high 37.6 minutes per game – hardly ideal playoff preparation for the 32-year-old. Cleveland has also lost six of eight, exacerbating any problems.

But LeBron mistimed his complaints. If Gilbert is inclined to appease his franchise player, LeBron could have affected much more in the offseason. LeBron signed off on the Cavs not matching the Bucks’ offer sheet for Matthew Dellavedova, who is exactly the type of player – an effective backup point guard for the long haul of the regular season – Cleveland needs right now. If he really wanted to push Gilbert, LeBron could’ve demanded the Cavaliers beat the Lakers’ lucrative offer to Timofey Mozgov. Though Mozgov was an unrestricted free agent and left for a starting job, money and sentimentality probably could’ve kept him with the Cavs.

Mozgov would’ve been an incredible luxury (-tax burden) coming off the bench in Cleveland, but the cost wouldn’t have been LeBron’s problem. Failing to match on Dellavedova seems like a mistake given everything that has transpired. That LeBron lacked the foresight to demand Dellavedova be kept at the time matters only so much. LeBron holds the power, and nothing can stop him from citing the Dellavedova and Mozgov cases in a list of grievances when he becomes a free agent next year.

The best way for Gilbert to prevent that? Grit his teeth and spend as much as possible before then.