The Cleveland Cavaliers are exercising their non-guaranteed team option on forward Lamar Stevens’s contract for the upcoming 2023-24 season according to Shams Charania. This will be for the final season of the initial three year contract Stevens signed back in April 2021. After next season, he will be an unrestricted free agent. Stevens’s base salary will be $1,930,681.
While the Cavs exercised his option for next season, the full amount, or the cap hit, doesn’t guarantee until Jan. 10.
Stevens came to the team as an undrafted free agent on a two-way deal. He worked his way into J.B. Bickerstaff’s rotation during his rookie season which earned him a standard contract.
Since, Stevens has been in and out of the Cavs’ rotation. This past season, he played in 62 including 25 starts. Stevens averaged 5.3 points on .448/.316/.702 shooting splits with 3.3 rebounds and 0.5 assists in 18.1 minutes per game. Bickerstaff did not elect to give Stevens meaningful minutes in their first round loss to the Knicks until the second half of Game 5.
Stevens’s ability to go from a two-way contract to being a spot rotation player is the type of player development the Cavs need to continue to do given their limited cap space and draft capital. The organization is hoping new second round pick Emoni Bates and recent two-way signee Craig Porter Jr. can take a similar path as Stevens.
The Cavs currently have seven players with fully guaranteed contracts for the 2023-24 season and two players currently on non-guaranteed deals in Stevens and Sam Merrill. Cleveland has until Thursday, June 29th to guarantee Cedi Osman’s $6,718,842 contract for next season and extend a qualifying offer to Dylan Windler.