Collin Sexton Receives Qualifying Offer from Cavaliers Ahead of NBA Free Agency

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJune 28, 2022

Cleveland Cavaliers Collin Sexton (2) dribbles the ball in the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Nikki Boertman)
AP Photo/Nikki Boertman

Collin Sexton received a qualifying offer from the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday.

He will now be eligible for restricted free agency if he turns down the offer, which would guarantee him $7.2 million for the upcoming season.

Sexton is among the most electric young guards in the NBA, but he is coming off a lost season of sorts because of injury.

In 2021-22, Sexton missed all but 11 games after undergoing surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his knee. When Sexton was healthy and playing, he averaged 16.0 points, 3.3 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.0 three-pointer made per game while shooting 45.0 percent from the field and 24.4 percent from long range.

Cleveland selected Sexton with the No. 8 pick in the 2018 NBA draft out of Alabama, and he was coming off a career year entering the 2021-22 campaign.

In 60 games during the 2020-21 season, the 23-year-old averaged 24.3 points, 4.4 assists, 3.1 rebounds, 1.6 three-pointers made and one steal per contest while shooting 47.5 percent from the floor and 37.1 percent from beyond the arc.

While Sexton was excellent individually, it didn't result in winning basketball for a Cavs team that struggled to a 22-50 record and missed the playoffs for the third consecutive season.

The Cavs were much better in 2021-22, going 44-38, which led to questions regarding whether he would be back next season.

Another reason why Sexton's return was in flux is the presence of guard Darius Garland, who is a similar player in many ways.

The Cavs selected Garland fifth in 2019 out of Vanderbilt, and he broke out with a career year in Garland's absence, averaging 21.7 points, 8.6 assists, 3.3 rebounds, 2.6 three-pointers made and 1.3 steals en route to his first career All-Star selection.

Cleveland also acquired guard Caris LeVert in a trade with the Indiana Pacers this past season, making Sexton even more expendable.

Despite that, the Cavs made a play to potentially keep Sexton in the fold for the 2022-23 season, giving them even more backcourt depth and production.

It also gives Cleveland a trade chip should it decide to move on from Sexton for another asset.