McCaw was a restricted free agent and signed a two-year, $6 million contract, which was non-guaranteed, late last month. The Warriors chose to not match the contract.
The Cavaliers released McCaw before the Jan. 7 guarantee date after he'd only played three games with the franchise. He's now an unrestricted free agent.
The Warriors will likely argue the Cavs circumvented the spirit of restricted free agency rules by signing McCaw with the intention to release him. Golden State would have retained his rights had he not come to terms with another team.
The Cavs' simple argument in this case would be that the Warriors could have matched if they wanted McCaw. That would have cost them $11 million in luxury tax penalties, but it's an option they had. They also could have matched and then looked to trade McCaw before his guarantee date if they were looking for draft pick compensation.
Any trades of restricted free agents on matched contracts must be approved by the player for the first year. Contracts for restricted free agents must also be for at least two years, which is why the Cavs were hamstrung into the two-year, $6 million structure.
McCaw has made it no secret he wanted out of Golden State. He refused both a guaranteed qualifying offer and a two-year, $5.2 million offer from the Warriors.
"I loved playing in Golden State," McCaw told reporters. "My teammates, the coaches, it was nothing really ... nothing stands out to me to say I didn’t want to go back. Think it was just a personal thing where I was just like, I think it was time for me to move on for a new opportunity within myself. Nothing against Golden State, front office, coaches, players, the environment, it had nothing to do with any of that. It’s just a personal thing, and I wanted a new opportunity to move on.
"I can’t say anything other than it was all me. Nothing against Golden State. I just wanted to move on."
McCaw won two championships in as many seasons with the Warriors but never averaged more than 4.0 points per game.