Aussies in NBA: Big Bucks coming for Delly

Delly is on the market and the signs are all pointing to the man getting paid.

Just in time too.

The poor guy has had to resort to moonlighting in a deli, just to make ends meet after playing for a measly qualifying offer last offseason.

Delly is hitting free agency market at a great time: he’s an NBA champion coming off a career year with the salary cap beginning its steep upward ascent into the stars.

The Delly package

So what’s a team buying when they stop by the Delly section of the free agency market? It’s fair to say what Delly does on the court is not pretty, but it’s pretty effective.

Firstly, he is a testament to hard work and has continued to improve his game each year in the league. Last season Delly had career highs in points per game (7.5), steals (0.6), assists (4.4), rebounds (2.1), free throw percentage (.864), 3-point percentage (.410) and PER (11.31) and minutes per game (24.6).

He ranked 13th for 3-point shooting percentage, 10th in assist-to-turnover ratio and 30th in assists per game.

And those are just the tangibles.

He also brings a team a great presence to the locker room, someone who knows and plays within his limitations, the best teammate you ever had, an inspirational story for former coaches , a cult hero for championship rallies, sandwich making skills, a killer beer pong setup and a player who plays hard all the time (or as Americans call like to call it ‘dirty’).

Oh and Delly is the one player LeBron would back to win the rebound if bears suddenly started playing basketball.

So where could he end up and how much could he get?

Whispers from the Wind

The loudest reports on teams interested in Delly have come from Brian Windhorst who revealed the Milwaukee Bucks and Detroit Pistons were scouting Delly during the NBA Finals and are ready to toss bags of money his way.

I think someone is coming in with a $10 million offer sheet.

For some reason, and I’ve got a pretty good idea why, the Milwaukee Bucks attended Cavs games in the playoffs like they were a fan of the team. They had scouts there…(coach) Jason Kidd came to one of the games. I think the Bucks have zeroed in on Dellavedova. I think they intend to offer him a bunch of money.

The Detroit Pistons were hanging around in the playoffs a lot, sending scouts. They weren’t sending scouts to evaluate J.R. Smith; I think they intend to go after Dellavedova.

So if the reports are true, the field currently has three main players for Delly’s services.

Cleveland Cavaliers

The main factor working for the Cavs is that they own Delly’s Bird Rights meaning they can match any offer that is made to him.

Cleveland Cavaliers GM David Griffin told NBA Lockdown Insiders that the Cavs are looking to keep their Championship winning roster intact.

"We do intend to keep this group together and see what we're capable of," Griffin told the show.

Considering the Cavs have little room to move in terms of adding new free agents they would be keen to ensure Delly stays in Cleveland.

However, the Cavs will likely be over the salary cap and again paying substantial luxury tax penalties that would be hard to swallow even for owner Dan Gilbert.

So if a team can put a high enough offer sheet to Delly it is sure to frighten the Cavs away.

Detroit Pistons

Detroit is desperate for a backup point guard, especially after trading Spencer Dinwiddie for Cam Bairstow during the NBA Finals (weird timing right?).

Currently they have Steve Blake who gets around the court similar to how Bernie gets around weekends, making Delly a significant upgrade.

It would be equally as fun for Aussie NBA fans watching Delly and Aron Baynes working the pick-and-roll together as it would be painful for their opponents.

So it will be interesting to see if Detroit are willing to produce an offer sheet high enough to prise Delly away from the Cavs, considering how little coach Stan Van Gundy uses his bench.

Milwaukee Bucks

Their interest in Delly was not a revelation, Windhorst has been reporting on the Bucks interest in Delly since February.

Milwaukee would be a great fit for Delly, and would team him up with another Aussie big man Thon Maker (it seems NBA teams can't just have one Aussie on the roster and must get two whenever possible).

Delly's game is reminiscent of an aged Jason Kidd, and might even complement the starting line-up better than incumbent Michael Carter-Williams thanks to his outside shooting, willingness to pass and defence.

Delly makes a lot of sense on the Bucks roster and the money they are reportedly readying for his services is much more palatable for a player who at least could be a part-time starter during the season.

Who else could be players?

The ripple effect left by the big fish could alter the course of smaller fish like Delly.

Looking at the landscape, other potential suitors who could come out of woodwork if they miss out on their primary target/s:

Houston – spare a thought for point guards who would have to go against Beverley and Delly all night.

Atlanta – In need a backup after trading Teague and he would work well in their system.

Sacramento - DELLY?! DELLY!!! Let’s hope this one doesn’t happen for Delly’s sake.

Philadelphia – Coach Brown knows him well and he has experience playing with point forwards.

LA Lakers – Also in need of a backup PG and someone to talk to D’Angelo Russell.


I believe Delly would truly prefer to stay in Cleveland and the Cavs would love him to stay. However preferences and loyalties quickly go out the window should the Bucks come calling with a $10-$12 million, 4 year offer sheet which will be simply too much for Delly to turn down and for the Cavs to match.

The Bucks have more cap space than the Pistons (reportedly from $28-32 million vs around $20 million) and more of a role to offer Delly. So for the moment this is where the biggest bread crumbs are leading.