The Golden State Warriors relationship with Patrick McCaw officially came to an end just over a week ago, when the team declined to match the offer sheet that the Cleveland Cavaliers extended to the third-year wing. But the drama surrounding the 23-year old is far from over.
Just a few days - and a mere three games - after the Cavs signed McCaw to a non-guaranteed two-year, $6 million contract, the team waived him, putting them on the hook for only a small fraction of the contract.
In hindsight, it seems evident that the Cavs had no intention of keeping McCaw beyond the date at which his contract would have been guaranteed. It was reported in December that teams were hesitant to offer McCaw an offer sheet, because they knew the Warriors would match. And yet, McCaw clearly wanted to be anywhere but in Golden State.
By offering McCaw a contract as lucrative as the one they did, Cleveland ensured that Golden State would not match. The Cavs could then waive McCaw, bringing him the fate he ultimately desired: unrestricted free agency.
This is, of course, a little bit questionable, and sets a precedent for future restricted free agents to force their way out of their current team. It seems unlikely that the Warriors will make too much of a fuss about it, but it raised the eyes of The New York Times’ Marc Stein, who reported that the team declined to comment about whether or not they asked the NBA to investigate or potentially intervene.
Not yet clear how deeply the NBA will look into Cleveland's signing and near-immediate release of restricted free agent Patrick McCaw. Asked if they would urge the league to do so, Warriors officials declined comment Monday— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) January 7, 2019
The Cavaliers signed the restricted free agent McCaw to a two-year, $6 million unguaranteed deal that Golden State declined to match. Cleveland waived McCaw after he appeared in just three games, setting up McCaw to become an unrestricted free agent if he clears waivers this week— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) January 7, 2019
According to math provided by the tireless @AlbertNahmad, McCaw earned $323,529 in Cleveland— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) January 7, 2019
Of course, there’s not much of a reason for the Cavs to help McCaw reach unrestricted free agency, unless they plan on re-signing him at a lower price, which is certainly a possibility. It’s been reported that the Cavs are one of the teams interested in signing the young wing.
Cleveland, along with several playoff contenders, are expected to express interest in signing McCaw (unrestricted free agent) if he clears waivers. Guarantee deadline for McCaw (two years, $6M) -- and other players on non-guaranteed deals around NBA -- is Monday. https://t.co/QgZOUiPLVz— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 6, 2019
All in all, it’s an odd situation. McCaw got what he wanted, and that is certainly good for him. But it would seem that neither the league, nor the Warriors will be too happy about what essentially amounts to circumvention.