So I sat and let the NBA Finals overreaction die down a little bit before i wanted to touch base on what is the next move for the Cavs. I will do a little forewarning that some of this will be bashing LeBron James for his role in putting the Cavs in their current state. Some will be on the the GM and Owner as well. However i will attack this article like i do all of my articles and that is trying to give you all the truth no matter how hurtful it may seem.
So people will look back at this past season for the Cavs and believe it was a success, after all it was a trip for the third straight time to the NBA Finals so how is that considered failing? Throughout the year they assembled a roster through trades and and free agency to fill a roster that was at one point considered the best roster Cleveland has ever seen. Kyrie and Love coupled with LeBron and Thompson being the vocal point. The Cavs went out and spent the most money in the NBA on their salary. Everything in hopes to bring another title to Cleveland. Here’s the problem, they lost in 5 to arguably the most dominate team we have ever seen assembled and the games weren’t really that close and they had no answers on how to stop or even slow down the Warriors in their quest to a second title in 3 years. The aftermath of the finals set the landscape for the NBA and what we kinda expect for the next two or three years. The Warriors will be odds on favorites to win next years title barring some crazy trade or trades to teams in order to compete with them. So the question remains what can the Cavs do to compete after being dismantled the way they did.
The new sexy theory is to trade for Paul George. Some believe and I have to admit it does sound quite interesting, that Paul George would be the other wing player that could help on both sides of the ball and space the floor out to challenge and possibly dethrone the Warriors. Here’s the problem with that theory, the Cavs are well over the cap and have zero assets to trade in order to get him. Cleveland is almost 45 million over the cap, and with pending free agents this off season they are already looking at 40 million over the projected cap and have about 4 roster spots available. So the to counter that the conventional wisdom is to trade Kevin Love big deal in order to acquire Paul George. The kicker is that Paul George will become a free agent the following year so the only way that trade works out is if there is a wink and handshake deal in place that he will resign with the team otherwise Cleveland can not and should not make that deal. With the real threat of the Lakers on the horizon and possibly even the Clippers that is a big gamble that Paul George who is a LA native would resign in Cleveland and pass up an opportunity to go home and make better money there.
The other theory is that Carmelo Anthony for Kevin Love is a possible trade in the works. Melo and LeBron are close friends and came in the league together and vowed to play with one another before their careers are up and here’s realistically their last shot at doing so with fuel left in the tanks for both players. Carmelo is a dynamic scorer that can allow some of the pressure to be given to him to help out Kyrie and LeBron. Here’s the downside, he’s pretty bad defensively. Yes I am well aware that Kevin Love isn’t great defensively but you are kinda getting the same player. Is Carmelo that much of an upgrade offensively to allow you to overlook what Kevin Love brings to the table on the glass and space wise to be able to pull a four or even five out around the three point line? And two last quick points, Melo makes more than Love and he holds a no-trade clause that we don’t know he is willing to give up.
I am getting a little ahead of myself and I apologize. You may ask yourself why are the Cavs in such bad shape and why I blame LeBron for a lot of it. Well go look back and the trade for Kyle Korver they made this past year. Notice anything weird? It came with a protection clause. A top 10 protection clause. Weird right? You just went to back to back Finals and well on your way to another and you add a protection clause for a draft pick in two years. Griffen and Gilbert aren’t stupid. Gilbert isn’t liked but he isn’t stupid enough to not remember what happened back in 2010. We all agree that LeBron is well aware whats going on in the NBA and sees how fast the game moves, it 4 years ago that the Warriors was a fun story and fun team to watch to all of a sudden being the best team in the league the following year. 3 years later they are possibly sitting on a dynasty. If it wasn’t for an epic choke job last year they could be the reigning 3 time champions and looking hard and four or even five in a row.
What the Cavs have done is completely bent over for their once in a lifetime player. They have resigned LeBrons friends to try and appease him. Thompson signed a 5 year 82 million dollar deal last off season. Pretty big right for a guy that’s known primary for his offensive rebounding presence. It obviously had nothing to do with LeBron making the comment in the interview that TT is what the Cavs need and should be in Cleveland his whole career. What about JR Smith? The spry 12 year vet that is as streaky as they get. All he did was sign for 4 years and 57 million. Again, known as one of LeBrons friends and LeBron stuck up for and said he needed to be signed by the organization. Just for kicks, Iman Shumpart is making almost 10 million this year to play a role of role player. Yes all these contracts get bigger as the years go on. These three players alone cost the Cavs roughly 38 million dollars this year. Next year they will cost the Cavs almost 42 million dollars. JR will be 32 years old while both TT and Shump will be 27. The Cavs have got to find a way to move these contracts and possibly Kevin Loves lofty 5 year 113 million dollar contract ( 22.6 million next year ) and almost hit the reset button if they plan on contending. By the way, LeBron traded the number one overall draft pick to get Kevin Love out of the Timberwolves locker room. That draft pick, Andrew Wiggins, he’s pretty good if you hadn’t already heard. He’s there under a rookie contract playing great defense and his shooting better and better as his career comes along. He also plays the SF role. Does this kinda sound familiar to what the Cavs are looking to get? Paul George type of player and he’s much much cheaper and younger than Love, Melo and George. LeBron wanted that deal to go through because he didn’t want to have to teach and nurture a young player that isn’t established in the league. That kinda backfired.
The last fantastic rumor is that LeBron will up and leave because he doesn’t believe this team is capable of winning. They don’t have the cap or assets to really get but so much better. Obviously the organization is thinking that’s a real possibility with the protection on the pick for Kyle Korver. This is interesting because ever since he left Miami I have said LeBron has about 6-7 years left before he retires. He’s played three already with Cleveland which leaves me with about 3-4 more years. One of the main reasons he left Miami was he looked at the roster and salary cap situation and realized there wasn’t room to improve to keep up with the Spurs. Aging Wade and Bosh, Allen and bench got old too. So he wanted to go back home and coincidentally home came with a 21 year old star in Kyrie Irving and a number one overall pick, kinda convenient if you ask me. Could he leave after next year? I’m starting to think its a real possibility especially if they lose to the Warriors bad again. With the bright future certain teams in LA have it could only be a Hollywood type ending to a career if he does decide to leave and a fantastic location.
SO WHATS THE VERDICT???
What I think will happen is the Cavs will put all their eggs in the Paul George basket and hopefully go for a sign and trade deal for Kevin Love for Paul George and then hope signs long term so they can continue to challenge for titles. If that doesn’t happen I believe the Cavs will start to cut back on spending because paying that luxury tax only gets bigger year after year and if they aren’t committed to winning then they will witness another leaving for the King of Akron or retirement.
All emails and comments are very much appreciated and welcomed.