Matthew Dellavedova is expected to sign a four-year deal with worth $38,4 million contract with the Milwaukee Bucks when he is eligible to on July. 7. He is a restricted free agent though which means once pens can officially be put to paper the Cavaliers will have three days to match the offer or lose their backup point guard for nothing. Delly is a good basketball player who made significant contributions to the Cavaliers over the last two seasons. He's fan favorite, was a rotation player on an title winner and young at 25. And yet, if the Cavs are diligent, they will not match the offer sheet.
Before looking at the evidence as to why the Cavaliers should not match Dellavedova's offer, first lets admit that it is a tough choice. He's performed admirably in his minutes as the second unit point guard, tallying the second best on/off rating on the Cavs last season trailing only LeBron James. While Dellavedova is primarily known as a defense first player he was one of the most effective passer's out pick and roll situations in the NBA: When Matthew Dellavedova found the roll man or a cutter w/ a pass out of the pick & roll this season, that player shot 71 percent, tops in the NBA.
When Matthew Dellavedova found the roll man or a cutter w/ a pass out of the pick & roll this season, that player shot 71%, tops in the NBA.— Synergy Sports Tech (@SynergySST) July 1, 2016
Losing Dellavedova would be a negative for the defending NBA champions, but given the current situation the team finds themselves in and the context of Dellavedova's success allowing him to leave is a necessary evil.
The most prominent reason why the Cavaliers should not match Delly's offer sheet is that David Griffin and company very likely saw this scenario coming and have already enacted contingency plans. The Cavs picked up Jordan McRae's option and paid over two million dollars for the second round pick used draft Oakland University point guard Kay Felder all prior to Delly signing his offer sheet. The master craftsman who put together Cleveland's first championship roster in 52 years does not make moves on a whim.
Given the Cavaliers complete lack of salary cap flexibility the moves to ensure that McRae and Felder were a part of the roster were intentional and made with purpose. Fans will be skeptical about McRae and Felder's ability to adequately replace Delly's minutes but the two unproven backcourt players will receive a boost that almost no other NBA players will have the luxury of having. They will get to play with LeBron James. Generally speaking players who get to share the court with LeBron James perform much better compared to when they do not, take for example Dellavedova: friendly reminder that Delly shot 33.7 percent on threes with LeBron off the court and 46.1 percent with LeBron on. Caveat emptor, and all that.
Now, simply sharing the court with LeBron wont turn McRae or Felder into NBA rotation players but it will certainly help and it will also help any other player the Cavaliers can bring into the roster to help fill the void left by Delly's departure.
Another reason the Cavaliers should refrain from matching Dellavedova is that more integral free agents remain unsigned, namely J.R. Smith. Wings have been cashing in so far during free agency, kudos to Kent Bazemore and Evan Turner, and the Cav's need to ensure they have the resources available to retain J.R as his defensive presence, perimeter shooting and locker room status make him a key member of the roster.
It is also likely that by matching the Bucks offer, and going deeper into the luxury tax the Cavs would lose some flexibility in using their TPE's. The Cavaliers have been able to leverage TPE's into rotation players (take Channing Frye for example) but have also let them expire without utilizing them. The trade that brought in Frye was only able to be executed due to the sending out of Anderson Varajeo and his contract, thereby minimizing the impact that Frye's contract would have on the teams luxury tax status.
I am not advocating protecting Dan Gilbert's money - he should do what it takes to keep the team at the top - but I am advocating for protecting flexibility. Follower's of the team have seen the impact that being able to take on salary using a trade exception can have, as well as the impact of having the funds available to buy a draft pick or two. Delly was a good player for the Cavaliers who earned the contract that he signed but the flexibility provided by not committing salary (and luxury tax dollar's) will likely have a larger impact on the team than retaining the guard.
Dellavedova will be missed but his departure to greener pastures (literal greener, the Bucks wear green) is a necessity of team building and keeping the Cavaliers as the team to beat.