Cavaliers Mailbag: Talkin' Garland, Sexton, Trade Scenarios

Sam Amico

Your Cavaliers questions and my answers in our first mailbag together on SI.com. Thanks for joining. Let's get right to it.

Question: Collin Sexton is slowly but surely improving. However, his court vision as a passer leavers a lot to be desired for a starting point guard. Is that something you see improving? - Ian Schorr

Dear Ian: You got that right. I wrote an entire column about how many of the Cavs' issues moving the ball start with Sexton. It's hard to predict if that will improve. 

The good news is Sexton is only 20-years old and in his second season. There's plenty of time. Also, it is a point of emphasis for coach John Beilein in conversations with Sexton. 

The Cavs want Sexton to believe that looking to pass will actually open up more scoring opportunities for himself. Right now, though, he is one of the few people on the team who can get a bucket when it's needed. 

It is hard to talk him out of that mindset, because the Cavs need points. They are hoping he becomes something more than just the next Monta Ellis.

Q: Is there a possibility Tristan Thompson and Kevin Love could be traded together as a package deal? The Cavs would probably have to take another team's bad contract until Thompson's expires. - David Ford

Dear David: That is a highly unlikely scenario, and not just because of the ridiculous amount of salary the Cavs would have to take back in order to trade their two best players. 

Along with that, I don't think Cavs general manager Koby Altman has any desire to trade Love. The Cavs will only move Love if they receive an offer that blows their doors off. But those type of "wow" offers haven't come in four years and I doubt they will now.

The Cavs admire Love's leadership and production, and he likes the organization. No sense in trading a guy like that just for the sake of trading him.

Thompson is a different situation. He has an expiring contract and contenders are keeping a close eye on him. He would fit in great with Houston, Boston or either Los Angeles franchise.

The Cavs would take back a "bad" contract for any of their expirings, provided they received a nice young talent along with it. 

Depending on how the season goes, I think they will also be very open to offering Thompson a big contract at the end of the season and keeping him in Cleveland.

Q: Any similarities between Trae Young's early-season struggles last year and Darius Garland's this year? - Trevor Bower

Dear Trevor: Yes. Difference is, Garland is playing alongside a second-year player who plays the same position and is the same size. That wasn't the case for Young last season with Atlanta. Also, Young played a full college season; Garland appeared in just five games.

That's not a shot at Garland, Sexton, the Hawks or the Cavs. But all of those guards will tell you the biggest adjustment in the NBA is keeping up with the blazing speed of the game. That has clearly slowed down for Young, and is starting to for Sexton.

It will for Garland, too, and once it does, I think he is going to be an excellent pro. He is already the best passer on the team, and once that shot starts dropping, watch out.

Q: Thoughts on the coach so far? - Chris Humble

Dear Chris: I've already been as impressed with Beilein as any Cavs coach -- ever. Everyone knew he could get it done at the college level, where there are no massive salaries, no rest days for veterans and none of the stuff that comes with the steak-and-jet lifestyle of the NBA.

But we all had questions about a 66-year old man entering the NBA for the first time.

I think those questions have been answered. The Cavs are drastically overmatched most nights, whether it's been with size, depth or just overall talent. Yet they have generally played hard and played with confidence. When healthy, they have also showed some nice cohesiveness. 

This team is on the same page and drama-free in the locker room. The Cavs have a college-like enthusiasm that I've rarely seen in the NBA. Beilein and his staff deserve a lot of credit for all of it.

The biggest question is if it can be maintained during the tough times.

Q: Does not picking up the option on Ante Zizic's contract mean the Cavs are ready to part ways with him after the season? And the Cavs do have a top-10 protected draft pick in 2020, correct? - Mike

Dear Mike: I don't think the Cavs have determined that they are done with Zizic. But right now, he can be replaced. There's no need to lock yourself into a financial commitment when that's the case.

That said, the Cavs are hoping Zizic shows something this season that will change their minds. They can still give him a contract in free agency if so. He could also be traded before then.

And yes, the Cavs' pick next summer is protected as long as it falls in the Nos. 1-10 range. Otherwise, it goes to Atlanta. 

I'd be surprised if that's the Cavs' lone pick by the time the end of June rolls around, though.

Comments (1)
No. 1-1
itschorr623
itschorr623

This piece gives me confidence that within the next few generations, Cleveland may have a shot at another title!


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