Mo Williams

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Report: Mo Williams not welcome at Cavaliers’ arena, including for ring ceremony

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One by one, returning Cavaliers collected their championship rings on opening night: Jordan McRae,Channing Frye,Iman Shumpert,Tristan Thompson,Richard Jefferson,James Jones,J.R. Smith,Kevin Love,Kyrie Irving then LeBron James. The Cavs even welcomed back Dahntay Jones, whom they cut before the season.

But one player on both the 2016 playoff roster and the 2016-17 regular-season roster was notably absent: Mo Williams, who has forced Cleveland into a difficult situation by opting into the final year of his contract, not retiring and then undergoing surgery.

Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:

Bringing Williams to The Q never crossed the Cavs’ mind. He’s not welcome

Williams has a startling amount of leverage here. His salary is guaranteed, and if the Cavs waive him, the full amount would count toward the luxury tax. Because he just underwent surgery, it’s difficult to fine or suspend him for not reporting. The Cavaliers might just have to waive him, but first they’ll try to trade him and have someone else pay him (without as stiff luxury-tax penalties). All the while, Williams keeps drawing paychecks.

Keeping Williams from the banner/ring ceremony might be petty, but what other option did the Cavs have? What else can Cleveland offer that would convince Williams to forgo money besides a chance to participate in that ceremony? It was their best leverage of convincing him to reduce his salary in a buyout. (Predictably, it failed.)

I do wonder whether Williams got a ring, even if it wasn’t publicly presented. Approximately 1,000 workers got one. David Blatt got one!

Williams helped Cleveland win its championship. Even if it’s understandable why the Cavaliers don’t want him around the facility, even on a special occasion, it’s another level to deny him a ring entirely.

Report: Cavaliers not “actively” shopping Iman Shumpert. Just listening.

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Three days into the NBA season seems early to be discussing the semantics of NBA trade talk, but here we are.

There have been rumors that the Minnesota Timberwolves called the Cleveland Cavaliers, interested in talking Iman Shumpert trades, possibly involving Ricky Rubio (who at some point will lose his starting job to rookie Kris Dunn). And that the Cavaliers were at least open to the idea. But nothing came of it.

How serious is Cleveland on the Shumpert front? Joe Varden of the Cleveland Plain Dealer addressed that in a Q&A with fans.

A few teams such as the Minnesota Timberwolves have inquired about Iman Shumpert, who has three years and $30 million left on his contract at age 26. The Cavs are answering the phone… But they are not actively looking to deal him, a team source told cleveland.com….

Keep in mind, Cleveland also has a trade exception worth about $11 million, the expiring contract of Mo Williams ($2.2 million) and Jordan McRae to deal. So if it is Rubio they want, they don’t have to trade Shumpert to get him.

What Varden is saying is Cavaliers GM David Griffin is not picking up the phone and seeing what he can get for Shumpert. But if teams call him…

Right now, the Cavaliers will need to be blown away to make a deal. Shumpert is backing up J.R. Smith and got more than 22 minutes of court time in the opener — he has a role on this team. Plus Shumpert is on an affordable contract. The Cavs are only going to make a move they believe makes them better right now — they want another ring. Maybe that offer comes, but the Cavs can be patient, and they have options.

Report: Cavaliers in advanced discussions on trade for point guard

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The Cavaliers should be fine at point guard in games that matter.

Kyrie Irving is an excellent starter. When Irving rests, LeBron James – in addition to his minutes at forward – can serve as primary ball-handler with an extra wing on the floor.

But Cleveland wants to limit LeBron’s and Irving’s playing time to preserve them for another long playoff run, which means finding a more traditional backup point guard for the regular season.

The Cavs have Kay Felder, but the transition from the Horizon League to the NBA is a difficult one for anyone, let alone a 5-foot-9 rookie who was drafted No. 54 overall. Mo Williams is somewhere between injured and retired. They might like to add Mario Chalmers, but he’s not healthy enough yet.

Another option: Trade.

Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:

The Cavaliers are pursuing a trade to acquire a backup point guard and are hoping to make a deal before the season starts Tuesday, sources told cleveland.com.

The Cavs are in advanced discussions with at least one club, according to a source, and could make one or multiple trades to fill the one, glaring need on a team otherwise built to defend its 2016 championship.

Whom are the Cavaliers targeting? Your guess is as good as mine.

Whom could they trade? That’s much easier to predict, but far from certain. Shumpert could be the odd man out, especially since J.R. Smith re-signed. Cleveland will probably drop one of Jordan McRae, Dahntay Jones or John Holland before the regular season, but I doubt any of those three would return much. The Cavs also have multiple trade exceptions and draft picks, though they have already dealt some picks.

This situation was predictable as soon as the Cavaliers let Matthew Dellavedova leave for Milwaukee. Did they not see it coming, or do they have an ace up their sleeve at the last minute?

Report: Cavaliers interested in Mario Chalmers, once he gets healthy enough to play

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Last March, Mario Chalmers suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon — less than ideal for a guy heading into free agency that summer. Chalmers has been active with his rehab, working on his conditioning, but is about a month away from a potential return to the league.

When he is ready to go, the Cavaliers are interested, according to Marc Stein of ESPN.

…rumbles persist that Cleveland has strong interest in reuniting LeBron James with his old Miami teammate Mario Chalmers when the veteran point guard is sufficiently healthy to return from Achilles surgery in March.

LeBron doesn’t have anyone to yell at in Cleveland, Chalmers would help with that.

Also, with Mo Williams out injured, the Cavaliers are in desperate need of backup point guard depth. Right now behind Kyrie Irving is Kay Felder — Chalmers would be a clear upgrade. Once healthy.

It’s something to watch.

Mo Williams, reportedly still on Cavaliers roster, undergoes surgery

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Mo Williams opted into the final the final season of his contract, reportedly considered retirement, said he wouldn’t retire and then apparently retired.

Case closed?

Hardly.

The Cavaliers guard – yes, Cavaliers guard (keep reading) – underwent surgery on his troublesome left knee, posting a message that seems spiteful at the Cavs:

Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal:

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.