Whats next for the Cleveland Cavaliers ?
Article written by Jordan Dorfman
If LeBron stays: The city of Cleveland will have a party like no other. It’s quite obvious they need another play maker to push all the weight off the shoulders from the king. However, it should not be Trae Young who can only dominate half of a game. (Offense but not defense.) That situation would remind me too much of Isaiah Thomas, we all know how that worked out. PG, Collin Sexton out of Alabama is the guy. A two way potential star in the NBA who can drill both aspects of the game. The Cavs biggest problems are, their lack of rotational mobility, defensive stability, and consistency from role players. Through the course of the year the narrative has been “Who else will show up besides LeBron.” You can’t rely on one player and hope someone else will help. Teams are getting younger, faster, and more athletic. The Cavs made a desperate attempt to adapt to this new wave at the trade deadline, acquiring Rodney Hood, Jordan Clarkson, and Larry Nance Jr. However, it didn’t work. I am convinced the Cavs would be a bottom 10 team in the NBA without LeBron James on the roster. I know he loves his boys but, George Hill, JR Smith, Jordan Clarkson, and Tristan Thompson all need to be traded if he stays. This roster is highly over payed and under productive. With rising teams in the East like Philly and Boston, you can’t have a win now attitude even if he stays. They really don’t need to worry because Bron can pretty much take any team to the playoffs so might as well win in the future because you will automatically make the playoffs. Their shooters are not making shots and their defense men are not playing defense. Even if LeBron re signs it’s not like it’s this big miracle, the rest of the team needs a rebuild. Tanking will not be possible with James on board so, they need to make a trade with the LA Clippers. (The Clippers own selections 12 and 13 in the 2018 NBA draft.) Package JR, Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr, and whoever else the Clippers want except a future first rounder to get the pick. I don’t think Cleveland can afford to give up another first rounder so they have to keep it to players only. With that selection you go after a young G like Lonnie Walker IV to pair up with Collin Sexton and build the backcourt of the future. After that, keep clearing cap to pursue a big time center in free agency like Deandre Jordan or DeMarcus Cousins. I know that may sound like a reach but think about it. George Hill, Tristan Thompson, JR Smith, Jordan Clarckson, and Kyle Korver are going to make a combined 71,249,565$ in the 2018/19 season. Money is not a problem for Dan Gilbert. If they can dump some of that money, a Boogie Cousins should definitely be on the radar. So, a possible 2018-19 opening day starting lineup for the Cavs if LeBron stays should look something like this: PG- Collin Sexton, SG- Shai- Gilgeous Alexander, SF, LeBron James, PF, Kevin Love, and C- DeMarcus Cousins. Possible options off the bench include: Kyle Anderson, Montrezl Harell, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
If LeBron leaves: The Cavs need to start from square one. That does not mean jersey burning, but it does mean a total rebuild. If Cleveland needs to start over, the roster should be backed by athletic youth that will play hard on both sides of the ball. JR Smith, George Hill, Kyle Korver, Jeff Green, Jose Calderon, and Kevin Love all need to go. Love is the youngest out of the bunch (29), if they wan’t to get some kind of return back, he will be the one who brings in the most. Michael Poter Jr should be the dream target in this scenario. He likely won’t be on the board at 8 so they need to trade up with the Memphis Grizzlies or Phoenix Suns who have expressed interest in trading down. However, if Memphis/Phoenix requires an additional future first rounder it’s a no go. The Cavs stay at #8 and should take Collin Sexton, but they probably select Trae Young which has me worried. Regardless, they tank and get a star in the 2019 Draft headlined by RJ Barrett, Cam Reddish, Nassir Little, and Zion Williamson. Free Agency will be key for the next upcoming years. There are some great realistic options available in the upcoming 2018 class, such as DeMarcus Cousins, Julius Randle, Jabari Parker, and Aaron Gordon. They need cap space to pursue these players, and to achieve that would be dumping their vets. A total bench rebuild would be necessary as well, but don’t worry the FA class of 18 has what your looking for Cleveland. Fred Van Fleet, Mario Herzonja, and Yogi Ferell, could all be 6th men and contribute heavy off the bench/ even start for years to come. A 2018-19 opening day Cleveland Cavalier starting lineup with no LeBron should look something like this: PG- Jordan Clarckson, SG- Mario Herzonja, SF- Michael Porter Jr PF- Aaron Gordon, and C- Tristan Thompson.