The Cleveland Cavaliers sure are determined to use up their cap space.
Rumor has it that the Cavaliers have prepared a maximum offer sheet for free agent Gordon Hayward, which could be both good and bad for the team. Hayward is a talented shooter who could spread the floor and give the Cavaliers another scoring option behind star point guard Kyrie Irving while their latest draft pick Andrew Wiggins is given a chance to showcase his defensive talents and still develop on the other end of the floor.
The bad news would be that the Cavaliers would be sacrificing a good chunk of their open cap space to a player who is largely unproven. When Hayward was given the chance to be the Utah Jazz‘s featured scorer last season, he struggled at times with consistency, only shooting 41.3 percent from the floor including 30.4 percent from three, both percentages career lows. Hayward found it difficult to deal with the defensive pressure and double teams constantly, which forced him to take a lot of bad shots. The defense for Hayward is that there were not a lot of offensively talented players on the Jazz to help him clean up the mess, but if Hayward is truly worth a maximum contract, he should have been able to shoot with better consistency than what he showed as a No. 1 scoring option.
So if the Cavaliers want to roll with a perimeter of Irving, Hayward and Wiggins, the only question is where does that leave scoring guard Dion Waiters?
Waiters has struggled at times for the Cavaliers, but his overall ability to be a dynamic playmaker has shown through at spots during the season, especially when Irving has been out of the lineup and Waiters has had to be the guy for the Cleveland offense. Waiters is a talented scorer who is able to both take the ball to the rack and shoot it from deep. Consistency is sometimes a problem with Waiters too, so it is unlikely the Cavaliers would want two shooters on the team who suffer from the same problem.
Rumors are now circulating that Waiters could find himself being traded to another team if the Hayward signing takes place, and that might not be a bad thing for the Cavaliers. Irving and Waiters have had trouble at times playing together, and he is not as talented of a deep shooter as Hayward is either. Hayward would not have to be a top option for Cleveland, and if Wiggins emerges as the scoring talent he can potentially be, then Hayward might not even have to be more than a No. 3 option, let alone a second scoring option. Hayward could get a lot of efficient looks in a system involving a great point guard like Irving.
Hayward is not worth max money, but he is a better fit for the Cavaliers than Waiters is. Don’t be surprised if Waiters is gone if Hayward does sign with the team.