Cavaliers extend qualifying offer to keep Collin Sexton

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FILE – Cleveland Cavaliers’ Collin Sexton (2) faces off with Portland Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard (0) in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021, in Cleveland. The Cavaliers made the expected move on Tuesday, June 28, 2022, and extended a qualifying offer to guard Collin Sexton, who missed most of last season with a knee injury. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)

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The Cleveland Cavaliers made the expected move and extended a qualifying offer on Tuesday to keep Collin Sexton, who missed most of last season with a knee injury.

Sexton is now a restricted free agent and the high-energy scorer could attract interest from other teams. If Sexton receives an offer sheet, the Cavs can match him.

Teams can start negotiating with free agents on Thursday.

A first-round pick in 2018, Sexton played just 11 games last season before tearing the meniscus in his right knee and undergoing surgery. The 23-year-old had played well and seemed to accept a lesser goalscoring role alongside All-Star Darius Garland.

Sexton averaged a career-high 24.3 points the previous season.

The Cavs value his productivity and were thrilled with his attitude last season, when he stayed on the team while rehabbing his injury. Sexton’s enthusiasm played a part in the Cavs’ 22-game winning streak.

Sexton’s role isn’t as clear as it once was on a team with strong young talent in Garland, sophomore forward Evan Mobley and All-Star center Jarrett Allen. However, Koby Altman, the team’s president of basketball operations, last week called Sexton “super important” and a “big part of our culture.”

Sexton and the Cavs couldn’t reach an agreement on a long-term contract until last season.

The Cavs also made a two-way qualifying offer to keep RJ Nembhard. He signed a two-way deal in October and appeared in 14 games for the Cavs.

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