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Sunday, November 28, 2021

What Are Collin Sexton, Jarrett Allen Worth In A Contract Extension With The Cleveland Cavaliers?

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With the annual trade deadline now in the rearview mirror for the Cleveland Cavaliers, they can now look ahead to the remainder of their season. But, in the distance, Cleveland is focused on what the future holds as well. As of today, the Cavaliers are 17-30 which has them sitting with the fifth-worst record in the NBA but are only six games back from the Eastern Conference’s eighth seed and four games back from the play-in tournament. With 25 games to go, the Cavaliers need to decide whether or not they need to continue embracing their rebuild or try and make a push for the playoffs.The Cavaliers are also is focused on the future of who is currently on their roster as well. Collin Sexton and Jarrett Allen, two key pieces in Cleveland’s young core, are both eligible for an extension this offseason.

With, $33.7 million coming off the books for the Cavaliers, which becomes $35.4 million if Isaiah Hartenstein doesn’t pick up his player option, the team has some money to play around with as well this offseason. With the luxury tax threshold set to $136.6 million next year, that means Cleveland will have approximately $42.3 million to use on improving their roster this upcoming offseason. This figure will be important for the Cavaliers when they try to sign Allen, who will be a restricted free agent, to a long-term extension. With Sexton, meanwhile, Cleveland has one year left on his rookie deal, worth $6.3 million, before his extension kicks in. But, the Cavaliers would probably prefer to sign Sexton and Allen both to an extension in the same offseason just to prevent their future cap sheet from getting messy.

Today, we’ll break down what kind of contract offers both Sexton and Allen should expect from Cleveland. This will be based on the seasons they’re having respectively and also compare them to players in similar archetypes as them. In the end, we should have a clear idea hoof w much it’ll cost the Cavaliers to maintain their young core.

When it comes to Sexton, things can be a bit polarizing when figuring how much he should get in a contract extension. On one hand, advanced metrics say Sexton is comparable to the likes of Donovan Mitchell, Devin Booker, and Jamal Murray. By that logic, it means Sexton should qualify for a five-year, $140 million extension with Cleveland that could go as high as $168 million based on if whether or not Sexton reaches certain criteria.

Basing his statistical output is also where the problem in itself also lies with extending Sexton. Sure, he compares nicely to Mitchell, Booker and Murray statistically, but, Sexton isn’t the same player. If you were to take Sexton and replace him with any of the aforementioned players, Utah, Phoenix or Denver may not be having the same season they are right now. Sure, Sexton is a young rising star in today’s league, and will likely be an All-Star one day, but he doesn’t impact winning like the players he is compared to. It took Murray three seasons to help his team reach the playoffs. Mitchell got there his rookie season. Booker will finally make it this season and it took him six. Even if it took all of them time, there was tangible data to prove that all three of these players were key factors in their teams taking steps towards the playoffs.

With Sexton, meanwhile, he has compiled an overall record of 55-139 during his time with Cleveland. Granted, things are starting to trend upward for both Sexton and the Cavaliers but the playoffs still might be a few seasons away. That’s why signing Sexton to a maximum rookie-scale extension can give you pause. If Cleveland were to become a serious playoff-caliber team, and Sexton isn’t able to produce at the same level like he does when the team is bad, then a maximum-level extension becomes a problem. If Sexton grows with the team to a higher level, especially when the cap increases, then a maximum-level extension seems like a steal.

That uncertainty is what makes it tough to commit so much money to Sexton outright. So maybe the Cavaliers let Sexton explore restricted free agency next offseason. But, instead of letting that happen, the organization might look to how the Sacramento Kings handled De’Aaron Fox’s five-year, $163 million extension. Fox, much like Sexton, had a few uncertainties when it came to winning with the Kings. But since Sacramento, like Cleveland, isn’t a glamor destination like Los Angeles or New York, the Kings probably felt the need to lock Fox up instead of risking possibly losing him in free agency.

The Cavaliers should take the same approach with Sexton. There’s a good chance he’ll only get better from here, and it would be remiss of Cleveland to let homegrown star like Sexton leave. Thankfully, according to league sources, Sexton wants to be in Cleveland and be a part of whatever this rebuild holds. Maybe that means Sexton and his camp will give the Cavaliers a bit of a hometown discount. Either way, he’s probably going to get top dollar from Cleveland and will be a member of the Cavaliers for years to come.

For Allen, meanwhile, there isn’t nearly as much uncertainty when it comes to signing him to an extension. High energy rim running and protecting big men like Allen are a dying breed. With the league prioritizing the perimeter instead of the paint, there is a limit to how much Allen can get on the market. But, Allen is also one of the most elite players at his position.

So with that in mind, it probably means Allen will get top dollar for the Cavaliers. To figure out what exactly that contract should look like, Cleveland should look at the extension Clint Capela signed with the Houston Rockets in 2018 for $90 million over five years. The former Rocket and current Hawk is a player in a similar vein as Allen and can serve as a baseline as a possible extension for the Cavaliers.

Due to the rise in the salary cap since 2018, coupled with the fact Cleveland can spend upwards of nearly $35 million this summer, an extension for Allen can be a bit more than what Capela got with Houston. Cleveland could offer Capela a five-year, $100 million contract to lock him up as a cornerstone and their center of the future. While it does seem like a steep price tag to pay, especially at what’s considered a diminishing position to some, it’s well worth it for Allen. He’s known as a no-maintenance, ascending big who fits the modern era because of the vertical spacing he creates and a willingness to thrive without having plays run for him. More importantly, he’s a winning player on both ends of the floor.

Locking up Allen should be Cleveland’s top priority this offseason, especially if they can get him at the value mentioned above. If he were to enter restricted free agency, the Cavaliers would have competition from the Washington Wizards, the San Antonio Spurs, the Charlotte Hornets and the Toronto Raptors, according to league sources. Opposing teams in this scenario could sign Allen to an offer sheet that’s above what Cleveland is comfortable with paying him. That then leaves the team with the dilemma of either overpaying their big man or losing him to the highest bidder. After that, the Cavaliers can use their remaining cap space to sign their 2021 draft pick and some depth in free agency.

In the end, Cleveland will have to make a few decisions this upcoming offseason regarding the future of their franchise. While Sexton they could worry about next offseason, it’s for the best to lock him and Allen both up for the foreseeable future. Both are vital to the team’s success going forward and will be instrumental in making it back to the playoffs. While it may be expensive, that’s the cost of trying to remain competitive when trying to build out from the shadow of LeBron James.

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