The Cleveland Cavaliers and free agent point guard Matthew Dellavedova are still struggling to come to terms on a contract. Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix reported recently that the two sides are still “at an impasse,” and it seems there could be multiple factors contributing to the stalled negotiations.
Cavs, Matt Dellavedova still at an impasse. Cavs less concerned about Dellavedova's salary than the sizable luxury tax bill that comes w/it.
— Chris Mannix (@SIChrisMannix) July 14, 2015
According to Cavs reporter Jason Lloyd, General Manager David Griffin has expressed interest in bringing back the two-year veteran. As a restricted free agent, there is not an immediate need to rush to a decision by the Cavaliers. If any team extends a deal to Dellavedova, the Cavs will have the opportunity to match and retain the fan favorite.
In addition to Dellavedova’s restricted status, the return of Mo Williams could also be playing a role in the negotiations between Dellavedova and the Cavaliers. Williams rejoined the Cavs by signing a two-year $4.3 million contract, and will likely be expected to be the primary backup to Kyrie Irving.
The Williams contract might make it a bit difficult to gauge proper compensation for Dellavedova. Williams returns at a fairly significant discount on his market value, and actually turned down more money from other suitors.
Williams had considered deals with San Antonio, Dallas and New Orleans before committing to a reunion with the Cavaliers and LeBron James.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 7, 2015
Williams’ desire to play for a contender led him to give the Cavaliers a discount. Dellavedova, who recently completed his second season on the league’s minimum wage, might not be as accommodating. While Williams would likely be ahead of Dellavedova on the point guard depth chart, “Delly” is likely looking to cash in on a higher contract than the 12-year veteran.
Looking around the league, it is difficult to find a comparable player to the Australian free agent. What Dellavedova lacks in polished offensive skills, he makes up for with grit and hustle on the defensive end. His contributions to the Cavs’ playoff success were apparent, as he found success guarding some of the leagues top point guards in Derrick Rose, Jeff Teague and Steph Curry.
One possible comparison in regards to Dellavedova’s style of play could be in Houston. Houston Rockets point guard Patrick Beverly is widely known as one of the league’s more tenacious defenders. Like Dellavedova, his offensive game is best served as a catch-and-shoot weapon.
Beverly, a starter for the Rockets, recently signed a four-year, $25 million deal to remain in Houston. As a starter, he will have a much greater role on his team than Dellavedova would should he return to the Cavs. Therefore, Beverley’s contract does give an idea as to what an up-and-coming defensive specialist can garner in free agency.
A final point of concern for the Cavs in negotiations is likely the luxury tax. With the team already above the salary cap, any additional money spent on retaining players such as Delalvedova or J.R. Smith will be amplified. Dellavedova’s contract could cost the Cavaliers millions more than the actual amount of the contract, depending on how far over the cap the team stands.
Dellavedova was a critical part of the Cavaliers’ playoff success in 2015. Like fellow free agent Tristan Thompson, Dellavedova is the type of hard-nosed competitor typically found on championship rosters. It would be a great step towards the 2015-16 season to get the point guard signed and further strengthen the depth of the roster.