The Cleveland Cavaliers may soon be in the market for a new backup point guard.
According to Joe Vardon of cleveland.com, Cavs guard Mo Williams is considering retirement. According to Vardon’s report, Williams’ bad knee, his desire to coach and possibility of exiting as a champion are influencing his decision.
Williams only played in 41 games last season as he dealt with a balky left knee and saw his playing time drop after Kyrie Irving returning from injury. Williams, 33, did play a role in Games 6 and 7 of the NBA Finals after then-backup point guard Matthew Dellavedova struggled. He averaged 8.2 points and 2.4 assists per game last season.
With Williams’ potential retirement, the Cavs now face decisions on two fronts. Financially, Cleveland could ‘stretch’ him ahead of the Aug. 31 deadline and have his salary spread out of the course of a few seasons. Williams is set to make $2.2 million next season after picking up his player option for 2016-17.
At the moment, Cleveland’s payroll is at $117.6 million - well over cap of $94 million and over the luxury tax line of $113.2 million. The team still has yet to re-sign J.R. Smith and stretching Williams would lessen how much luxury tax Dan Gilbert has to pay. The Cavs could also find a trade partner to take on Williams’ salary.
Additionally, Williams’ retirement would leave rookie Kay Felder as Irving’s only backup. Felder showed potential in summer league and the Cavs paid over $2 million to purchase the pick they used to select him, but entrusting that role to a rookie could mean the Cavs look to sign a point guard in free agency. Norris Cole and Mario Chalmers, two players LeBron James played with in Miami, are among the point guards currently available in free agency.
Williams, incidentally, recently worked out with Felder and put the rookie through drills without fully participating.
With the ‘stretch’ deadline approaching, look for this situation to be resolved soon.