NBA Rumors: Cavaliers Considering Waiving Richard Jefferson After Preseason

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistOctober 4, 2017

Cleveland Cavaliers' Richard Jefferson poses for a portrait during the NBA basketball team media day, Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, in Independence, Ohio. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)
Ron Schwane/Associated Press

While it's good news for Cleveland Cavaliers fans that they signed Dwyane Wade, his arrival does mean there needs to be a departure for one player with a guaranteed contract.

Cleveland has 16 players with guaranteed deals on its roster, one above the NBA maximum of 15. Former second-round pick Kay Felder also has a partially guaranteed deal.

With Cedi Osman finally coming over and having three years of guaranteed money on his deal, Richard Jefferson has become the obvious odd man out. The Athletic's Jason Lloyd reported Jefferson's roster spot is in jeopardy, and it's hard to see a scenario in which he makes the roster.

Jefferson, 37, has been an integral part of the Cavs bench the last two seasons. He averaged 5.7 points and 2.6 rebounds per game last season, playing some small-ball 4 and defending wings as part of the Cavs second unit.

That role will likely be handed to Jeff Green, who signed a one-year contract for the veteran's minimum this summer. Green is six years younger than Jefferson and has fresher legs, though his inconsistent play has tended to frustrate at every stop. 

When it comes to choosing between the two, Green has an advantage due to age and mileage but it would be hard to lose Jefferson's leadership. His relationship with teammates borders on indispensable, and his bond with LeBron James was evident last summer when he wrote a glowing piece in The Players' Tribune.

"I don't care if you're a LeBron 'fan' or not, I have seen it: 'Bron has something I've never seen," Jefferson wrote. "The way he says 'follow me and I'll take you there' with actions, more than words, is like no one else I've ever played with. He's the kind of leader who makes you want to carry the weight too. I feel indebted to him. We all do."

Jefferson's Road Trippin' podcast has also helped shed light on Cavaliers players and seems like something of a stress reliever. 

Cutting Jefferson isn't likely something that will sit well with the locker room. But it might be a necessary evil given the roster crunch. 

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