It was a tough ending for the Cavaliers season on Monday night, losing to the Golden State Warriors 129-120 and ending the NBA Finals four games to one.
Cleveland put up a tough fight but they couldn’t match the firepower that Golden State has in their arsenal.
Immediately following the game, speculation began as to what they need to do to be able to somehow defeat the Warriors, who if keep the core group of Durant, Curry, Thompson and Green will be dominating the league for at least the next five seasons.
The Cavaliers have a lot of questions to address this offseason, let’s dive into them now:
Who’ll be running the basketball operations?
It’s still unclear about the future of general manager David Griffin. His contract expires on June 30th and as of yesterday he hasn’t been made an offer by owner Dan Gilbert.
Gilbert told Cleveland.com Monday night that he will meet with Griffin in the coming days and that he was happy with the direction of the organization. Well with three straight Finals appearances and a championship, he should be happy.
As I wrote last month, Griffin deserves to be the general manager of this team and even get a promotion to President of Basketball Operations but I question if he wants to remain here or would he like a new challenge with another franchise.
If he does leave, it’s been rumored that Gilbert would promote within and assistant GM Trent Redden would be the likely choice.
Kevin Love the odd man out?
Kevin Love had his best season as a Cavalier but unfortunately it might not be enough to keep him here.
Love disappeared during Game 5 scoring just six points after scoring 23 in Game 4. He averaged 16 points and 11.2 rebounds per game in the series.
If the Cavs want to make roster moves and add talent, he’ll likely be the player on the move.
Love has been a solid player but with injuries and sometime lackluster performances, it makes him expendable in order to keep to improve the roster.
One name that’s already been linked to the Cavs is Pacers All-Star forward Paul George.
George is entering his final year under contract and he’s been rumored to be wanting to join one of the Los Angeles teams when he becomes a free agent.
Now Indiana wouldn’t likely just take Kevin Love for George straight up. Unless George tells Indiana he only wants to be traded to Cleveland or he’ll walk next summer and Indiana gets no compensation.
Another option I would pursue if I’m Cleveland is Pelicans center DeMarcus Cousins. He always has great games against the Warriors and would a tough player to game plan against especially with Lebron and Kyrie already on the floor. He’s big but he can also move up and down the floor and can stretch out and shoot if needed.
Other roster moves
As it stands right now, the Cavs will have nine players under contract when free agency begins on July 1. Those contracts total over $125 million so they’ll be well over the cap.
Among the free agents we have are Kyle Korver, Deron Williams and Derrick Williams.
Re-signing Korver should be a priority for the team. They obtained his Bird Rights when they acquired him in January so they can pay him whatever he and his agent desire on the open market.
Unless Deron Williams is willing to take the minimum, I don’t see him returning to Cleveland and his postseason wasn’t the greatest so maybe the Cavs go younger at the point guard position.
Derrick Williams could get more money than the minimum but he said he felt comfortable in Cleveland and was in a winning organization for the first time so I’d say it’s likely he returns.
Euro wing and Cavs 2015 second round pick Cedi Osman will join the squad after five years as a professional overseas.
He’s known as a player who can shoot the ball as well as play perimeter defense at a high level. Cavs fans will get their first look at Osman in the Summer League next month.
With the Cavaliers being well over the salary cap, it’s going to be difficult to make solid additions to the roster.
Of course veterans who want to win a championship will be targets for the Cavaliers, two of which have some experience playing with Lebron James and Kyrie Irving.
If they both become free agents and are willing to join for the veteran minimum, Dwayne Wade and Carmelo Anthony could join Cleveland this summer.
Wade and Lebron spent four years together in Miami, winning two championships. It was rumored last summer that Wade looked at the Cavs as a possibility before joining the Chicago Bulls. He’s due around $24 million next season if he opts in for another season with Chicago.
Anthony came into the league the same season as Lebron and have battled many times during their 14 year careers. They also teamed up to win gold for Team USA in 2008 and 2012. Before the trade deadline, the Knicks offered Anthony for Kevin Love and were told no by Cleveland.
I would say it’s very likely he’ll be bought out this summer and become a free agent. He would’ve waived his no-trade clause to come to Cleveland had they pulled the trigger on the trade.
I wouldn’t mind either one of those additions but my belief is the Cavs need to get younger, not older. Wade and Anthony both have had knee issues over the last several years and are slowing down.
Playing against the Warriors will expose them big time and not really help the Cavaliers chances of winning another championship.
The Cavaliers need to get better defensively too, the offense isn’t an issue despite what some people say.
Losing Mozgov and Dellavedova last summer hurt them on the defensive end and cost us another championship. They need to look at anyone who’s willing to take the veteran minimum to win a championship and can help us down on the defensive end of the floor.
As it pertains to next week’s NBA draft, the Cavs don’t have any selections as of now. That doesn’t mean however they won’t try to acquire a pick. They could trade someone away or trade the rights to a player such as Osman to acquire a draft pick. They could also buy a draft pick for cash like they did last year when Dan Gilbert spent $3 million on the 54th pick which turned out to be Kay Felder.
It’s going to be an interesting summer to say the least for the Cleveland Cavaliers and things should start heating up quickly very soon.