The Cleveland Cavaliers are in impasse with guard Mo Williams and it has left them scouring the league for a trade partner so they don't have to swallow millions, sources told ESPN.com.
Williams is owed $2.2 million for this season and he did not report to training camp. The Cavs, who were caught off guard by the decision, have not had meaningful discussions with Williams on a buyout agreement, sources said.
Williams has not filed retirement paperwork with the league.
Needing both a roster spot and a backup point guard, the Cavs are in a squeeze as the regular season opener looms. They are looking to attach guard Jordan McRae to Williams in trades, sources said. The team openly showcased McRae during the preseason and he led the team in scoring at 14 points a game.
If the Cavs waive Williams now to create a roster spot, Williams would receive his full salary and the Cavs would have to pay the full tax amount. Currently, the Cavs are projected to have a $32 million tax bill.
Aug. 31 was the deadline to waive Williams and stretch his deal over three years. The Cavs did not, believing Williams was considering playing out the deal. Had they waived him, the team would've been able to save $4.5 million in luxury tax.
The Cavs have the option of suspending Williams and not paying him; his first paycheck is not due until Nov. 15. Team suspensions do not affect the salary cap and they would still be taxed on the full salary. There also could be a lengthy legal process that would follow. Meanwhile, Williams would use a roster spot.
Williams vacillated on retirement during the summer, sending mixed signals. On Sept. 22 he told ESPN's Dave McMenamin he planned to play this season.
The Cavs attempted to get medical updates from Williams but were unable to do so.
Williams had surgery on his left knee on Oct. 12 and appeared to criticize the team for not looking out for his health in a social media post.
Williams got three opinions on his knee when he had pain last season. One from Cavs orthopedist Dr. Richard Parker, one from Dr. James Andrews and one from Dr. David Altchek. Williams had a platelet-rich plasma procedure during the year after consulting with Dr. Andrews. Dr. Altchek performed the surgery.
Williams averaged 8.2 points and 2.4 assists in 41 games last season. He appeared in 13 playoff games, six of them in the Finals.