Once Seth Curry's 10-day contract ran out, the Cleveland Cavaliers opted to not re-sign him. Instead, the Cavs used their open roster spot to sign Scotty Hopson for the remainder of the season. Now, I know what you're thinking: who the heck is Scotty Hopson?
And I can answer that question for you...sort of. He's a 6-7 wing who used to play at Tennessee, but went undrafted in 2011 and has been playing overseas ever since. He's a really athletic guy and apparently has a decent jump shot. That sounds like an NBA player, right? Why hasn't he been on a team before now? Well by all accounts, he's kind of...out there.
I love him already. RT @DraftExpress: NBA GM after interviewing Scotty Hopson: "That guy is not from the same planet as the rest of us."— Conrad Kaczmarek (@ConradKazNBA) March 31, 2014
So the Cavs will sign him for their last 7 games and he might get playing time, but might just be a practice player. Why is this notable? Because Hopson is going to get $1.35 million (!!!) for these last 7 games. That's a hell of a lot more than a normal 10-day contract. According to Brian Windhorst from ESPN.com, the reason for the Cavs doing this is to put themselves in a better position to make a big deal during the offseason. By giving Hopson that big contract now, they also signed him to a non-guaranteed deal for next season. he second year of Hopson's deal, worth $1.45 million, is nonguaranteed.
The Cavs now have a stockpile of nonguaranteed or partially guaranteed contracts that could be attractive in trades around June's draft.
Combined with the contracts of Alonzo Gee, Matthew Dellavedova and Anderson Varejao, the Cavs have a trove of options to use as trade bait for a team that wants to clear salary-cap space. In addition to their all their own draft picks, the Cavs also own future first-rounders from the Memphis Grizzlies and Miami Heat.
Non-guaranteed deals are nice because they allow the Cavs to match salaries in a trade, but then the team receiving Hopson can immediately waive him and clear that money from their salary cap. It's a sneaky move by the Cavs, but it's also really expensive. Fortunately, $1.35 million ain't no thang to Dan Gilbert.
It remains to be seen if this creative bit of cap maneuvering pays off for David Griffin and the Cavs in the end. The CBA does not allow Cleveland to trade Hopson before the NBA Draft, but he'll be available for use in trades during the offseason.