Report: Second-rounder Sir’Dominic Pointer won’t sign with Cavaliers

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The Cavaliers left the NBA draft with three second-round picks, but it seems Cleveland will begin the season without any of them.

The Cavs traded Rakeem Christmas to the Pacers, and Cedi Osman will remain overseas.

The third, Sir’Dominic Pointer, is headed to the D-League.

Chris Haynes of Cleveland.com:

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.

Report: Pacers to sign Toney Douglas

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The Pelicans waived Toney Douglas before having to guarantee the rest of his contract.

The Pacers didn’t submit a claim, but now that he has cleared waivers, they’ll take him.

Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today:

The Pacers probably got a couple advantages by signing Douglas rather than claiming him. If it’s a one-year minimum contract, the NBA will pay a portion of it. That wouldn’t have happened by claiming him, because he was on a two-year deal, even though that was for the minimum. Indiana can also negotiate a new guarantee date rather than Aug. 1 – and that’s particularly important.

The Pacers have 15 players with guaranteed salaries, and their four lowest-paid players – Shayne Whittington, Joseph Young, Rakeem Christmas and Glenn Robinson III – signed this offseason. It’s hard to see Indiana making room for Douglas on its regular-season roster.

George Hill, Monta Ellis, Rodney Stuckey, Joseph Young can all play point guard or some proximity to the position. If Indiana makes a trade, Douglas could provide depth – especially because some of those other players will see most of their minutes on the wing. Otherwise, Douglas probably gets squeezed out in late October.

But at minimum, the six-year veteran will have training camp to make his case. Maybe a point guard-needy team with a roster vacancy will be watching.

Report: Pacers agree to four-year deal with newly acquired Rakeem Christmas

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Earlier in the day on Thursday, the Pacers traded for Syracuse big man Rakeem Christmas from the Cavaliers. Christmas was a second-round pick in last month’s draft, and the Cavs needed to get a pick to move Brendan Haywood’s contract. Now, the Pacers have wasted no time in signing Christmas to a four-year deal with the first two years guaranteed, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer‘s Chris Haynes:

Christmas will have a bigger opportunity to get minutes in Indiana than he would have in Cleveland, and the Pacers clearly think highly of the rookie if they were willing to guarantee his first two years as a second-round pick.

Report: Cavs likely to trade Brendan Haywood’s contract to either Blazers or Sixers

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With the highest luxury-tax bill in the league, the Cavaliers don’t have much in the way of assets to make their team better. The biggest trade chip they have is Brendan Haywood’s fully unguaranteed $10.5 million expiring contract, but they haven’t found anyone willing to give up an impact player to save money. Because of this, they are likely going to use the extra second-round pick they just picked up from the Pacers in a trade for second-r0under Rakeem Christmas as an incentive to dump Haywood’s deal and create a trade exception, according to ESPN.com’s Brian Windhorst:

The Cleveland Cavaliers executed a minor trade with the Indiana Pacers on Thursday, helping set up a larger deal that will involve Brendan Haywood, sources told ESPN.com.

The Cavs sent center Rakeem Christmas, the No. 36 overall pick in June’s draft, to the Pacers for the Los Angeles Lakers’ 2019 second-round pick, which is owned by Indiana. The trade gives the Cavs roster flexibility and an asset they can use to move Haywood and create a large trade exception in the next week.

The Portland Trail Blazers and Philadelphia 76ers are the only teams with enough cap space to absorb Haywood and create a trade exception for Cleveland. The Utah Jazz are also close but would have to trade or cut several players with non-guaranteed contracts to do so.

The Cavs will likely make a deal with one of these teams, and then Haywood would be immediately waived before his salary is guaranteed. To rent out this cap space, even for just a few hours, the Cavs might need to surrender a draft pick. Until last month, the Cavs didn’t own any second-round picks until 2020 but have acquired two 2019 second-rounders over the past months. They also have the rights to a handful of overseas players.

With their options limited, this move makes perfect sense. Creating a trade exception gives the Cavs some flexibility in being able to take back a player from another team without having to match Haywood’s large salary. Now, they’re in a position to get a player in a straight salary-dump trade. Who will be out there for them to get between now and the trade deadline is another matter, but they’ll have options.

 

Pacers trade for Rakeem Christmas from Cavaliers

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Rakeem Christmas was not going to be part of the Cavaliers roster — they are win-now, he is a guy in need of development.

Indiana has time to develop guys, so they have traded for him. The Pacers announced the move, saying they gave up the future second-round pick they acquired in the Roy Hibbert trade.

“We really liked Rakeem when he came in for pre-draft workouts,” Pacers basketball operations guru Larry Bird said in a statement. “He is a solid player who was a contributor all four years at Syracuse and we look forward to having him on our team.”

Christmas showed flashes of good defense and shot blocking, plus a little offense, at Summer League. However, he shot 33.3 percent and didn’t exactly blow any doors off. He’s a guy who spent four years at Syracuse and still needs to develop his game.

Christmas is 6’10” and incredibly long — a 7’5” wingspan. He was a shot blocker camped in the middle of the Syracuse zone in college, but he has the body to defend in the NBA post. He seemed to struggle against more athletic, smaller players.

For a Pacers team that just moved Hibbert from the middle of their defense, taking a flier on Christmas makes some sense. We’ll see if he can make the roster behind Jordan Hill, Myles Turner and Ian Mahinmi. That seems a long shot, but he’s got a better chance there than Cleveland.