Looking Ahead: Cleveland Cavs
After falling short to the Golden State Warriors in the 2017 NBA Finals, the rumors & hot take have already begun concerning the future of the Cleveland Cavs. Everything started after game 2 when the Cavs were blown out for the second consecutive game. Honestly, I'm not surprised, as ESPN and other analysts from different networks were reporting the Cavs should trade for Paul George, Kyrie is on the trading block, they should target Chris Paul in free agency and my favorite…LeBron is going to leave Cleveland for a Western Conference team.
All of these sound really stupid, except for maybe one and I'll get to that in a second; mind you this was after game 2 & the damn finals weren’t over, but then again I wasn't surprised because this is the nature of NBA fans aka fanatics. The only signing the Cavs need to focus on (at the moment) is brining GM David Griffin back. If owner Dan Gilbert can secretly donate $750k to Agent Orange's inauguration fund then he can damn sure pay David Griffin, and if he's not back as GM then I don't know what to expect or think. Bringing Griffin is the priority right now, and everything else will work out later this summer/fall.
The roster moves…the Cavs don't really need to panic or try to do anything drastic; just retool. Even though Paul George to the Cavs obviously doesn't sound like a bad idea, there’s one problem…I'm not in favor of trading Kevin Love. I might be the only one who thinks it but if you pull the trigger and trade Love then where is your rebounding going to come from? Sure there's Tristan Thompson but you still need Love in plenty of situations because Thompson tends to disappear, not to mention I'm a huge fan of Love’s outlet passing. Look, Iman Shumpert might have to go! Can he defend? Yes, but he was a no-show in the Finals, and I really don't want to see him dribble a basketball anymore. Shump stepped his shooting up this season, but we really didn't see it in the Finals. Terribly sorry to break Shump & JR Smith but if you can you find a guard that can really score? Then go for it!
Who's available out there? Very few scoring wings but the name that pops up in my head is Wilson Chandler. At 6"8 225lbs, Chandler would be a nice backup for Bron, especially considering Richard Jefferson will be mulling his retirement, again. I still believe the Cavs would have traded for Chandler using their exception in 2015 before he signed the extension with Denver, but we'll see how this off-season will play out. The Cavs courtship of Wilson Chandler depends on if the Nuggets are willing to ship trade him; correct me if I'm wrong, but I do remember him becoming frustrated with his role in Denver during the 2017 season.
Circling back to JR Smith, I'd like to see the Cavs keep him because he was one of the few players that decided to show up for game 5 of the Finals. JR was one of the key players during the 2016 title run.
Kyle Korver, even though he was missing in action…I'm still keeping him around for his 3-point shooting because the Cavs need as much of that as possible. Richard Jefferson might have to retire. Jefferson and Channing Frye can keep doing the Road Trippin podcast while traveling with the team. James Jones, the legend, is just sitting on a roster spot, and there's a YMCA in Avon, Ohio waiting for him to get buckets on a Tuesday afternoon. In all seriousness, James Jones can have a consultant spot with the Cavs like Damon Jones. Deron Williams turned out to be the playmaker we weren’t expecting him to be. I think D-Will left his 360-wave kit and black hair spray somewhere in Brooklyn with the Nets; he might have to go too. Maybe Mario Chalmers is the best backup point guard available at the moment, IF he’s fully recovered from this injury.
Now time for the hot takes, you can take this serious or not, the choice is really yours…my hot take roster tweaks: well who's available in free agency? Not too many guys that fit the Cavs roster, except for one player by the name of Rudy Gay, who just opted out his contract with the Sacramento Kings. Rudy Gay would be another great addition to the bench at the SF position in Cleveland but that's a long shot because he is probably & rightfully seeking a big contract this summer, and could possibly end up on the Miami Heat. Ben McLemore's future in Sacramento isn't looking great, and he’s another good backup option at guard. If Dwyane Wade is willing to accept the mid-level exception then why not have him come off the bench? But I highly doubt he's willing to turn down his $20-million+ player’s option, and I wouldn't either but Wade in Cleveland would be fun to watch.
Here is my scorching take…if you can keep your current big 3, and add another weapon to the offense, then there's one player on that very short list…Carmelo Anthony. People say Melo is washed or whatever but that's just not true. Phil Jackson, James Dolan and the Knicks are the problem. Melo can still score the hell out of the basketball with ease, so I don't understand all the "he wouldn't fit" talk. If Melo is willing to sacrifice a little of his game to play with Bron, Kyrie & Love then why not pull the trigger? Melo getting open looks from LeBron and Kyrie at the 3-point line is easy money, and we've seen it during the Olympics & All Star games. Would I trade Kevin Love for him? I don't think so, but Melo and Bron have talked about playing together on the court plenty of times, and I'm sure that discussion between the two will resume this summer. Cleveland would be Melo’s best option to win a championship, and as I said before, I wouldn't make the trade for Love but I'd definitely try to talk Melo into agreeing to a buyout. The amount remaining on Melo’s contract is about of $54 million, so we'll see how this plays out.
All in all, the Cavs don't really need to hit the panic button. They were the 2016 NBA Champions; all they need to do is retool, and let's run that shit back with GSW. The only problem with this whole situation is the salary cap. LeBron is a free agent next summer, and some say if he wants to win more then he should take the Tim Duncan route of payouts while bringing talent to Cleveland. I’m not sure about that part but I'm sure if the Cavs prioritize bringing Griffin back…some magic can be worked, and we’ll see the Cavs in the Finals vs. GSW again next June.