On top of the $36 million to spend without James, the Cavaliers still have two salary cap exceptions it can use to add players — the full mid-level exception ($8.6 million this season or $37 million over four years) and the bi-annual exception ($3.3 million or $7 million over two years).
The Cavs are “exploring all options” when it comes to their salary-cap exceptions, team sources say. The team is also still exploring options for players to acquire with the $5.8 million trade exception they are sitting on from the Kyrie Irving trade last summer.
The Cavaliers have until Aug. 22 to accept a player (or multiple players) from another team whose salary (or salaries) fit into the $5.8 million hole from the Irving trade. Because of league rules, that deadline is the only way for the Cavs to use the trade exception.
It is easy for anyone to realize that the Cavaliers did not “win” free agency in the summer of 2018, but they now possess the flexibility to stay active in smaller signings this year to better themselves for the future.
“I think if there’s a right opportunity and it’s worth it for our franchise, then we can explore that,” Cavaliers General Manager Koby Altman said.