Independence, Ohio – The Cleveland Cavaliers waived five players on Saturday afternoon, bringing their roster to less than the maximum.
The training camp invites Sheriff Cooper, Mamadi Diakite, Nate Hinton and Jamorko Beckett. Combo guard RG Nembard, who originally signed a two-way contract with Cleveland on October 16, 2021, and appeared in 14 games for the Cavaliers last season, was also released.
All five players have been placed in waivers, giving other NBA teams up to 48 hours to submit claims.
After Saturday’s round of cuts, Cleveland has 14 players on contract for next season. While this is below the cap of 15 players, the team is tentatively planning to keep this last position open due to a current salary cap being put in place. Cleveland is about $2.5 million away from the luxury tax.
“We’re in those conversations with (head of basketball operations) Kobe (Altman) and Jans (general manager Mike Gancy) and we understand the financial flexibility and all that stuff,” Caves coach JB Bickerstaff said after Saturday’s training. “We’ll come to a point where we might need it, but for now, we’re in agreement with the decision to leave that 15th position open.”
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The Nembhard version adds more flexibility to the menu. It will also lead to another decision. The Cavs will keep an eye on the league-wide cuts over the next few days before making a final call on who will sign with their second two-way contract. Diakite, who has appeared in all four of his pre-season games and has earned Bickerstaff praise throughout the camp, is a strong candidate to return in a two-way deal – if he isn’t demanding of concessions.
According to NBA rules, teams may have up to two players under two-way contracts that will split their time between the NBA and the G League. They are eligible to spend no more than 50 NBA games. Only players in their fourth NBA season or earlier are able to sign these specific contracts, which can be for one or two seasons.
“These are the things where we start having conversations beforehand to sort of hash everything out and figure out what we want to do next,” Bickerstaff said. “The conversation for me is far from difficult. Basically, their dream is stopped for the time being at least, and sometimes it is robbed for men. That’s even more difficult. That’s the hard part. It’s the human side that makes it so difficult.”
Sources say the Cavs intend to bring back Cooper, Hinton and Beckett as members of the G League’s Charge. Nembhard is also a candidate to play for the Cleveland’s G League again. But that still has to be determined based on whether he can land a two-way spot with another NBA organization.
In 15 games with the Charge last season, Nembhard averaged 24.5 points, 8.2 rebounds and 5.3 assists in 38.4 minutes.
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