Khimki Moscow Rumors
The Cavaliers “aren’t in a hurry” to make a decision on Russian center Sasha Kaun, a league source told the Northeast Ohio Media Group. Cleveland front office personnel dined with the 7-foot Kaun Friday night in Las Vegas after he watched the team’s Summer League finale courtside with LeBron James and coach David Blatt, among others.
The Cavs control Kaun’s NBA rights and could pay him at least the veteran’s minimum of $525,000, in addition to the roughly $1.3 million left of the team’s taxpayer’s salary cap exception, if they so chose. They invited Kaun to Las Vegas to start the dialogue about possibly playing for Cleveland next season. Kaun, who made the equivalent of $2.9 million annually playing for CSKA in Moscow, told the Northeast Ohio Media Group Friday that money “something that shouldn’t be a problem” — indicating he’d take less money to play for the Cavs.
Every dollar the Cavs continue to spend beyond the luxury-tax line means team owner Dan Gilbert’s tax bill skyrockets higher. Team general manager David Griffin has to decide who he wants to fill the few remaining spots on the roster, those players’ value to the Cavs, and then pitch it to Gilbert to get the OK on a tax bill that could reach $90 million. Kaun, for instance, would likely be Cleveland’s fourth big man behind Kevin Love, Kaun’s friend Timofey Mozgov, and Thompson.
And yet, Griffin told the Northeast Ohio Media Group the Cavs would “love to have” Kaun and he “could be rotational for us.” Furthermore, Kaun, 30, has said he’s finished playing in Europe, so it’s difficult to determine what kind of bargaining power he would have with the Cavs to get them to come up from the veteran’s minimum salary.