Dribbles: McCaw to become Cavs' newest audition... maybe

Sam Amico

Random dribbles following the Cavaliers' 118-94 road loss to the Miami Heat on Friday.

1. Let's start with Patrick McCaw. I find the Cavs' decision to sign the restricted free agent to an offer sheet a little odd, a little intriguing and well worth the shot. Hey, why not? For the Cavs, this truly is a season of experimentation.

2. In case you missed it, McCaw is a 6-foot-7 shooting guard who spent his first two NBA seasons with the Golden State Warriors. So Cavs fans got a glimpse of McCaw during the Cavs-Warriors matchup in the Finals the last two seasons.

3. But it was truly just a glimpse -- as McCaw averaged a measly 4.0 points last season. He rarely played meaningful minutes.

4. McCaw became a restricted free agent after last season. That means the Warriors can match any offer he receives and keep him. Or they can allow him to walk and receive nothing in return.

5. McCaw has been sitting out after turning down a two-year deal from the Warriors in October. The offer was reportedly a little more than $5 million total. His decision to reject the deal stunned the Warriors and the NBA overall. Not often does a guy looking to prove himself turn away a chance to play.

6. Meanwhile, the Cavs' offer was reportedly for two years and $6 million. According to sources, the second year of the deal is not guaranteed. Again, for the Cavs, it's another chance to audition a young wing player. And regardless of his overall contributions, McCaw's pro career consists of two championship rings in two tries.

7. Just last week, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported the Warriors were prepared to match any offer for McCaw. But that may be because they had gotten wind of the Cavs' interest and wanted to try to scare them away. If so, clearly, the Cavs were not deterred.

8. Truth is, if the Warriors do decide to keep McCaw it will cost them $11 million in luxury tax. Money is hardly an issue for NBA owners, but the Warriors have to ask themselves if he is worth that cost.

9. The Warriors also have to think about roster flexibility. First-year forward Alfonzo McKinnie is having a nice season off the bench, and center DeMarcus Cousins is expected to debut soon. Plus, the Warriors might want to pick up a veteran after players start hitting the buyout market in February. It would be wise to keep an open roster spot.

10. No matter, the Warriors have 48 hours to decide. So we will know Sunday where McCaw is headed. As multiple outlets have reported, the Cavs or Warriors could also opt to waive McCaw. As long as they did it by Jan. 7, they would not have to pay him his remaining salary.

11. Not sure why either team would do that, but it is indeed an option.

12. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, McCaw is hoping the Warriors don't match and he remains with the Cavaliers.

13. That too could work in the Cavs' favor. Nobody wants to pay $11 million in luxury tax for a guy who doesn't want to be there -- especially since the Warriors may have already replaced his productivity.

14. Plus, one member of the Warriors told Marcus Thompson of The Athletic in October: "You can’t do this after two years (in the league). You've got to get the clout first. He doesn’t have the leverage."

15. Translation: All signs point to McCaw officially joining the Cavs. But you just never know.

16. As for the game, it was more of the same for the Cavs (8-28). They played well through the first two quarters, trailing by just four points at halftime. Then the wheels came off after the Heat switched to a 2-3 zone in the third. This has been the story all season -- the Cavs fight and hustle despite being undermanned, then things go south. They had just nine players in uniform Friday. Eventually, that catches up with you.

17. Cavs coach Larry Drew to reporters: "I thought we played a competitive first half and really scrapped. Physically it took a toll on us. We couldn't respond, particularly after about halfway into that third quarter. We just wore down. They are a tough team and that's how they play. We just didn't have enough bodies.""

18. Jordan Clarkson and Alec Burks led the Cavs with 18 and 17 points, respectively. Cedi Osman scored 12 and Larry Nance Jr. tallied 11 points and seven rebounds. Justise Winslow led the improving Heat (17-17) with 24 points, 11 boards and seven assists.

19. The Cavs will now pay a visit the Atlanta Hawks in the Lottery Bowl on Saturday night.

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