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Report: Talks between Cavaliers, Sexton “not contentious,” nowhere near close

Cleveland Cavaliers v Washington Wizards

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 14: Collin Sexton #2 of the Cleveland Cavaliers dribbles the ball during the first half of the game against the Washington Wizards at Capital One Arena on May 14, 2021 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

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It’s a matter of perception. And spending limits.

Collin Sexton perceives himself as the player from two seasons ago in Cleveland who was a primary ball handler averaging 24.3 points per game. A guy who deserves starting guard money (think $20 million a season and up).

The Cavaliers view Sexton more as the guy who missed all but 11 games last season due to a torn meniscus and surgery. A guy who may be more of a sixth man in a world where Cleveland just gave Darius Garland a max extension. Plus, after the Garland extension and other offseason moves, the Cavaliers are about $13 million below the luxury tax, so they offered that much in a three-year, $40 million deal.

The sides are talking but nowhere near a deal, reports Chris Fedor of

Sources tell that talks between the Cavaliers and Sexton’s camp -- led by ruthless, player-friendly negotiator Rich Paul, the CEO of Klutch Sports -- have not been contentious but remain at a standstill, with the two sides far apart on valuation...
Even though president of basketball operations Koby Altman and Paul chatted when Paul returned from his vacation in Italy near the end of the July, the two sides know a financial gap needs closing. Neither side looks prepared to blink.

This is an intractable situation. Sexton will not accept what the Cavaliers are offering, and Cleveland won’t go into the luxury tax to keep Sexton happy.

The most likely outcome of all this? Sexton bets on himself by taking the $7.2 million qualifying offer, playing this season and increasing his value, then becoming an unrestricted free agent next summer. If Sexton stays healthy and reminds everyone of his ability to get buckets reasonably efficiently, with the cap expected to go up in coming years, he may get his money.

Maybe the two sides find a deal, or something else shakes up this situation, but right now the best free agent on the market appears headed toward the qualifying offer.