In a new series for Right Down Euclid, readers can submit their questions about anything related to Cleveland sports and we'll answer them to the best of our ability. So, with that said, today Right Down Euclid will answer your questions, and hopefully more, on this edition of the weekly mailbag.
Assuming Collin is back with the team, does Levert have a future with the Cavs? There are only so many touches and shots to go around, another team may value him more. – Isaac B.
So, this is a question I've been mulling over myself as we're at a little over a month's time before training camp begins for the Cavaliers. As you said, let's assume that Collin Sexton is back (more on this in a bit) to participate in camp with Cleveland. Unless your name is Darius Garland, Evan Mobley or Jarrett Allen, you're competing for a spot in either the starting lineup or in the rotation – Sexton included.
Again, assuming Sexton is playing for the Cavaliers next season, he'll have to compete with the likes of Caris LeVert, Ochai Agbaji, Isaac Okoro, Raul Neto, eventually Ricky Rubio and possibly Cedi Osman or even Dylan Windler for minutes in Cleveland's rotation. For a team that traditionally only goes 9 to 10 players deep in their rotation, with three spots already guaranteed, that means there's only a set amount of spots and minutes available. If Sexton isn't back due to not having a multi-year deal, this problem becomes a little easier. But, if Sexton is back after agreeing to terms on a contract extension, it muddles things – especially for LeVert.
When the Cavaliers obtained LeVert leading up to last year's trade deadline, there was hope he could provide versatile scoring as well as some secondary playmaking, something Cleveland sorely needed. At least, that was the idea of what LeVert could provide to the Cavaliers. That's because the results were mixed to say the least as LeVert struggled to acclimate to the rotation due to injuries that were outside of his control. It also didn't help that by the point LeVert arrived to Cleveland, practices were few and far between and he more or less had to learn the team's system and tendencies on the fly during actual gameplay. With him out of the lineup so often, that made it difficult.
With that said, heading into training camp this fall is a new opportunity for LeVert to show the Cavaliers why they traded for him in the first place. He's had this offseason to get fully healthy and can now utilize the precious practice with his teammates to find the familiarity he struggled to obtain last season. Sources say that, for now, LeVert is penciled in as the starting shooting guard next to Garland in the backcourt. Cleveland likes his ability as a bigger guard to relieve defensive attention off of guard as well as his ability to create individually on the offensive side of the ball as well.
There's also the fact that LeVert is technically extension eligible as well heading into next season. On August 7, LeVert can be extended for up to four years and about $100 million by the Cavaliers. LeVert has expressed to the media in the past that he has a desire to remain with Cleveland in the past but, with how unavailable he's been at times, the Cavaliers might not rush to sign him. That, along with the fact that Sexton might be back with Cleveland on a new deal, and the Cavaliers might not be as keen to extend LeVert at all.
If Sexton is getting long-term money from Cleveland, it doesn't make sense to have LeVert on an extended deal as well – especially when Okoro is extension eligible next summer and Mobley is soon to follow. Mind you, that doesn't mean the Cavaliers have to trade LeVert. Instead, it's quite the contrary with Cleveland now having the runway to evaluate him and possibly increase his trade value. They can then possibly look to move him heading towards next season's trade deadline if they want to and try and recoup value after trading for him. Or they could also try to rock the boat too much if LeVert is playing well and instead risk losing him in free agency the following offseason.
Hello, I have a question about how the situation of Collin Sexton is going? – Dani O.
To be brief, not a whole lot has changed between Sexton and the Cavaliers and their ongoing negotiations. One source close to Sexton's camp described it as a staring contest, with either side waiting for the other to blink. A different source shared with Right Down Euclid shared that Sexton had made it clear that he wants starting guard money from the onset of free agency while the same source said that Cleveland doesn't want to go into the luxury tax threshold in order to pay him.
With that said, the Cavaliers are more comfortable offering Sexton something less than $20 million annually with the deal going no lower than $12 million. But, to get to a number within that range, it’s going to take Cleveland shedding a little extra salary.
Now both sides will continue to find some form of agreeable terms with one another or wait for someone to blink. Hopefully, things will be resolved before training camp and Cleveland can carve out a roster spot to have Sexton on the main roster by the start of the regular season. But, don't be surprised if this continues to drag out through the remainder of summer as well.
This question somewhat goes with the one above since, again, Cleveland has to find a spot on their fifteen-man roster in order to have Sexton available for the start of the regular season. The likely candidates to get the ax is Osman, who could be a somewhat tradeable asset, or Windler, who is on the last year of his rookie deal and can be probably dumped on a team with a second-round pick attached to him. Teams that make sense for either are the Indiana Pacers or the San Antonio Spurs, who are both entering a rebuild and could use draft assets to assist in their efforts.
But, if the Cavaliers don't feel comfortable attaching picks to either Windler or Osman, they could cool on the idea of trading either if that's what it takes. That would likely mean Cleveland would have to cut Lamar Stevens, who is not on a fully guaranteed contract. But, that might be a hard pill to swallow as Stevens has become the heart and soul of the locker room for the Cavaliers. With that said, it feels like Windler will be the most likely candidate to see the boot from Cleveland. But, it remains to be seen where he ends up and what it'll cost the Cavaliers.
Do you think the Guardians can trade for Juan Soto? – Derrick C.
Yes, I do. Assuming the Washington Nationals are looking to load up on high-level prospects as they continue their post-2019 World Series rebuild, there are few teams better suited to put together a trade package than the Guardians. According to MLB Pipeline, Cleveland has eight of baseball's top 100 prospects, which includes MLB's No. 11 prospect in right-handed pitcher Daniel Espino and the No. 32 prospect in outfielder George Valera.
The Guardians likely can put together a very attractive trade package based on their prospects alone but can sweeten the pot considerably with one of their more established players as well. But, whether they should or shouldn't trade for Soto remains a complicated question. It's tough to imagine a world where Cleveland could sign Soto to a long-term contract if he has already turned down a 15-year, $440 deal from Washington.
At most, that means the Guardians will likely have three shots at a World Series run with Soto in tow before he likely leaves Cleveland in free agency. Is that short-sighted worth gutting your entire stable of top-end young talent over? I don't think so. As enticing as it is, I'd probably pass if I were the Guardians.
Featured image credit: Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images
Evan Dammarell is a sports journalist covering all things Cleveland right off the shores of Lake Erie. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. Email him at email@example.com. Did you enjoy this edition of Right Down Euclid? You can get it in your inbox two to three times a week by subscribing here. All it takes is either your Facebook account or email address!