Cavaliers Rumors: Collin Sexton Contract, Ricky Rubio Return in FA Eyed by CLE

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJune 13, 2022

TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 5: Collin Sexton #2 of the Cleveland Cavaliers dribbles against the Toronto Raptors during the first half of their basketball game at the Scotiabank Arena on November 5, 2021 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, NOTE TO USER: User  is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images)
Mark Blinch/Getty Images

The Cleveland Cavaliers reportedly have interest in re-signing guard Collin Sexton and bringing back guard Ricky Rubio in free agency.

In his 2022 NBA draft guide, The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor reported that league sources say the Cavs are interested in both guards, although he opined that plans could change if a quality guard falls to Cleveland in the draft.

O'Connor projected Wisconsin's Johnny Davis to the Cavaliers at No. 14 overall as a backcourt complement to Darius Garland.

Sexton is set to be a restricted free agent. While some thought the Cavs would let him leave because of the presence of Garland, that may not be the case.

Cleveland selected Sexton with the No. 8 overall pick in the 2018 draft, and he has established himself as one of the best young guards in the NBA offensively.

After being a second-team All-Rookie selection in 2018-19, Sexton raised his level of play the following season, averaging 20.8 points, 3.1 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.5 three-pointers made and 1.0 steal per game.

He was even better in 2020-21, playing All-Star-caliber basketball with averages of 24.3 points, 4.4 assists, 3.1 rebounds, 1.6 three-pointers made and 1.0 steal, all career highs in a full season.

Expectations were sky high for Sexton entering the 2021-22 campaign, but it was essentially a lost year for him, as a torn meniscus in his left knee cost him all but 11 games.

In Sexton's absence, the Cavaliers improved from 22-50 to 44-38 and narrowly missed the playoffs, falling in the play-in tournament.

Garland, meanwhile, became an All-Star, averaging career highs across the board with 21.7 points, 8.6 assists, 3.3 rebounds, 2.6 three-pointers made and 1.3 steals per game.

Both Garland and Sexton thrive with the ball in their hands, so it is fair to question if they can coexist over the long haul.

Rubio is a more natural complement to Garland. The 31-year-old veteran is a playmaker and quality defender rather than an offensive dynamo.

The 2009 No. 5 overall draft pick is an 11-year NBA veteran who has played for the Minnesota Timberwolves, Utah Jazz, Phoenix Suns and Cavs, averaging 11.1 points, 7.6 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 1.8 steals in 665 career games.

Rubio appeared in 34 games for Cleveland last season in a backup and complementary role to Garland, and he matched his career high with 13.1 points per game and set a new career high with 1.7 trifectas made per game while averaging 6.6 assists, 4.1 rebounds and 1.4 steals.

The Spaniard was thriving, but a torn ACL cut his season short, and the Cavs traded him to the Indiana Pacers in the deal that brought Caris LeVert to Cleveland.

Rubio is likely to miss some of the 2022-23 season, but based on how well he worked with Garland, it is easy to understand why the Cavs would want to bring him back as an unrestricted free agent.