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Cavaliers Rumors: TJ Warren, Tyus Jones Interest CLE in NBA Free Agency

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVJune 30, 2022

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The Cleveland Cavaliers are reportedly expected to pursue forward T.J. Warren and guard Tyus Jones when the free-agency period kicks off at 6 p.m. ET Thursday.

Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com listed Warren and Jones among the top targets the Cavs could pursue as they look to bolster their roster, though their chances of landing both players are slim.

Cleveland can only offer its mid-level exception (starting salary of around $10.5 million) and bi-annual exception ($4.1 million) to free agents.

Jones will command a salary that eats up all of—if not more than—the mid-level and is reportedly looking for an expanded role. The Cavs can't offer much more than the same role he had in Memphis since Darius Garland is manning the point guard spot, and the Grizzlies can offer more in compensation for Jones to return.

It would take a significant downturn in Jones' market for him to wind up in Cleveland's price range.

Warren is a more realistic option, given he's coming off a foot injury that cost him all but four games over the last two seasons. He was fully recovered by the end of the 2021-22 season, but the Pacers kept him out of the lineup as he prepared for free agency. As Indiana settles into what will be a multiyear rebuild, it's unlikely Warren returns to the Pacers.

The Cavs could use Warren's scoring prowess on the wing, and the mid-level sounds right as an expected price range. Fedor theorized Cleveland could split its standard mid-level between Warren and Ricky Rubio, who is a strong candidate to return to the Cavs, but that seems highly optimistic.

Signing Warren and then using the bi-annual exception to bring back Rubio could get the job done.

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