Report: Mo Williams Likely to Be Bought Out by Cleveland Cavaliers

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The current roster problems of the Cleveland Cavaliers are primarily related to the season-ending injury of Chris Andersen and the costly thumb injury of J.R. Smith. However, a roster issue that’s lurked all season has been the situation of retired guard Mo Williams, with speculation now hinting that the team will buy out his contract in order to free up a roster spot.

Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal writes:

“It’s likely Williams will eventually get bought out, which will free up one spot. And guys around the league are sure to be waived before Jan. 10, the day when all non-guaranteed contracts become guaranteed for the remainder of the season. But those guys usually comprise roster filler at the end of the bench. More useful veterans will surely be bought out of their contracts following the Feb. 23 trade deadline, but it’s safe to assume that even in a worst-case scenario, Smith should be back around then.”

Williams had first indicated that he planned on returning before then announcing his retirement on the day that the Cavs’ training camp opened on Sept. 26. Had he indicated before Aug. 31 that he was retiring, the team could have put him on waivers and spaced the $2.2 million that he was owed on the second year of his deal over three years. Not doing so will now cost the Cavaliers approximately $4.5 million in luxury taxes.

To aggravate the problem, Williams never formally filed retirement papers, which has forced the Cavs to use up a roster spot on him. In addition to all of this, the bad blood between Williams and the team came out in the open when he had knee surgery on Oct. 12 and claimed that the team had ignored his previous knee troubles.

The inability to fill Williams’ spot has weakened the depth at point guard behind Kyrie Irving, with Smith’s injury taking a key offensive weapon out of the lineup. Previous attempts to deal Williams’ contract have been unsuccessful, with the Cavaliers still holding a $9.6 million trade exception that they’ll likely use as the trade deadline gets closer.

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Brad Sullivan is a lead writer for Cavaliers Nation. He has spent much of life in the Cleveland, Ohio area, and has remained a Cavalier fan from their 1970 beginnings through the return of LeBron James. While that fandom was sorely tested during the Reign of Error known simply by one word, Stepien, that overall historical perspective will be part of his writing for Cavaliers Nation in the months ahead.