CLEVELAND -- Kendrick Perkins, who was signed on the final day of the regular season but did not play a single minute in the 2018 postseason, will have his contract option for 2018-19 picked up by the Cavaliers, multiple league sources told ESPN.
As much as the Cavs appreciate Perkins as a locker room presence, the decision is simply a salary-cap ploy in order to try to aggregate the 33-year-old center's $2.5 million salary along with an existing contract in order to pursue a trade around the league.
Team sources told ESPN that the Cavs "continue to explore all options to improve" heading into LeBron James' decision about his future with the franchise.
By picking up the option, Perkins' contract is non-guaranteed for the time being. The Cavs would have to guarantee the contract in order to include it in a potential trade.
The move is akin to how Cleveland's front office invoked the so-called "Brendan Haywood Rule" in the new collective bargaining agreement; the Cavs added the aging big man in the summer of 2014 on an escalating deal that included $10.5 million in non-guaranteed salary in Haywood's second season so they could use him as a trade chip in pursuit of bigger fish on the market.
The league has since deemed that only the guaranteed portion of contracts signed under the new CBA will count when they are included in deals in order to meet the salary-match requirements to make the deal equitable.
The Perkins move points to the Cavs' willingness to add extra salary to their roster when they are already set to be a luxury-tax payer for next season, regardless of whether James stays or goes. Cavs owner Dan Gilbert has doled out approximately $130 million in luxury-tax payments over the past three seasons, nearly equaling the total luxury-tax payments paid by all 29 other NBA owners in that time period combined.