The NBA has cleared the Cleveland Cavaliers of wrongdoing after launching an investigation into their signing and subsequent release of guard Patrick McCaw.
McCaw, now with the Toronto Raptors, signed a two-year deal with the Cavs in December, having refused an offer to re-sign with the Golden State Warriors. But the player would find himself waived in a matter of days, with the team cutting him from their roster ahead of the juncture which would have made his contract a guaranteed one.
The NBA announced they would review the transaction, specifically upon the request of Golden State. And on Monday, their findings were released.
The NBA announces that it has completed its investigation into Cleveland’s signing and subsequent release of Patrick McCaw and found no wrongdoing pic.twitter.com/oi5kqVm0pF— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) January 14, 2019
Per the New York Times' Marc Stein, the league found that there was no wrongdoing on the Cavaliers' part, following their decision to release the player after just three games.
The Warriors were concerned that their finals opponents of the last four years had circumvented rules by signing McCaw, a restricted free agent back then, and releasing him shortly after, leaving him unrestricted.
The general feeling around the league was that there would be no punishment in the wake of the investigation as Golden State could have matched the Cavs' offer sheet themselves but opted not to. Cleveland, on the other hand, seemed well within their rights to evaluate a player on a non-guaranteed deal before committing to a two-year contract.
McCaw played with the Warriors the last two seasons, winning two championships with the side, but the guard made it clear that he did not wish to continue playing there past the end of the last campaign.
“I loved playing in Golden State. My teammates, the coaches, it was nothing really … nothing stands out to me to say I didn’t want to go back," he told The Athletic after joining Cleveland last month.
"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."
According to the Associated Press, the Cavs could have forfeited a draft pick had they been found guilty of any infractions.
McCaw was signed by the Cavs in December but only played three games for the team. https://t.co/Jt8KUyu5Ry— News 5 Cleveland (@WEWS) January 14, 2019
What This Means
The Cavaliers were never likely to face any punishment after signing and waiving the player and league sources had already indicated that due diligence was done, which was why the transactions were allowed in the first place.
There are a few theories regarding the Cavaliers' motives in this deal. But can't it simply be that McCaw wasn't what they were looking for? Although that would point to some really poor scouting on their part.