Brendan Haywood was an afterthought for the Cleveland Cavaliers this season, appearing in just 22 regular-season games and one playoff game, in which he played two minutes. But Haywood actually could be a key part of the Cavaliers’ offseason thanks to a quirk in his contract that has him set to make $10.5 million next year, a dollar amount he won’t actually see.
That $10.5 million is non-guaranteed (Haywood must be waived by Aug. 2), making it a valuable trade chip this summer, and ESPN’s Brian Windhorst says Cleveland is already looking at trade possibilities.
Other teams looking to clear salary could trade a player or two to the Cavaliers for Haywood, and then subsequently waive him or possibly use him in another trade. As an extra incentive, Cleveland could offer up the No. 24 pick in the upcoming draft, and Windhorst says those options are being explored.
Adding a quality young player to the roster would be nice for the Cavaliers, but they’re in win-now mode, so trading that pick along with Haywood for a player (or players) who can help more now makes sense. However, this kind of deal couldn’t happen until after the draft.