The Cleveland Cavaliers have been plagued by terrible decisions regarding the franchise since the departure of Lebron James. It starts with Cavs majority owner Dan Gilbert, who refuses to bring in a team president or hire anyone with basketball knowledge that has not worked for the Cavs since he acquired the team. Gilbert’s reputation has suffered along with the basketball team turns out these problems stem from negligence of all things related to the team.
Below will be a breakdown the cumulative team record, roster, finances, free agents, management, and possible coaches. Not covered in this feature will be the NBA Draft that will be discussed during a Special podcast. This is presented to give suggestions that will help the franchise move in a sustainable Winning direction. Something that will be glaringly apparent will be none of these options will include Lebron James. However all of the following moves could help the Cavs achieve the one goal of another trip to the NBA Finals, with this time hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy!
Current State of The Team
Here’s a glance at the incremental improvement the Cavs had in Wins during last 4 seasons with two different coaches. The chart shows that Cavs should win another 8-12 games this upcoming season that will hopefully put them around .500 mark and be good enough to reach the playoffs in the Eastern Conference.
Current Salary Cap: $58,679,000 Salary Cap
Cleveland Cap Hit: $64,739,938 ($6,060,938 over salary cap)
Free Agent Cap Holds: $0
Unsigned Draft Pick Cap Holds: $0
During the personnel musical chairs the Cavaliers were over the salary cap for past season but that changes drastically. The Cavs have plenty of room under the cap over the next two years which is a positive byproduct of the neglect. But you have to spend money in the NBA, they have had the lottery picks to stack talent on the roster now it is imperative to spend this money with a max deal offer to Kyrie Irving and signing of current players, combined with bringing in free agents.
Cleveland Cavaliers Roster
There’s not one player on the Cavs Roster that should not be traded including two time All-Star Kyrie Irving, it’s important to receive value and veteran leadership with any deal made.
We’ll start with the Kyrie vs Dion situation, both have proven they can score but have never had more than 2 years under the same coach. By being drafted in the lottery Dion Waiters has come to see himself as a starter and player deserving of a max contract. Dion’s pathway to success in the NBA, should be to mirror the career of Jamal Crawford, only skip the years of losing in ATL. Crawford has been sixth man of the year twice, and though coming off the bench is a prolific scorer essential to the Clippers offense. Dion needs to adopt the philosophy its not where you start but where you finish. A real coach would have pitted Kyrie vs Dion in practice with a first unit vs second unit in practice everyday. Not only would the competition diffuse the tension but help both develop a mutual respect for each other, also learn how each other plays by defending Cavs first and second scoring options. Kyrie needs to improve defense and just needs an offensive scheme he can understand and thrive in, he plays well with Thompson, Varejao, and Hawes. But for some reason struggles to play with not only Dion but all Cavs guards/small forwards. Again there’s no question Kyrie should dedicate himself defensively, but here’s hoping that the next Coach is one that he can trust and buy in to their offensive system.
Luol Deng is a free agent and probably won’t return to the Cavs considering the many comments shared regarding dysfunction of the team. Best addition to keep would be Spencer Hawes though he was added during the third of the season he played hard by creating a new option for a stagnant offense.
Of the Cavs sophomores, of course we continue to hold our breath hoping Anthony Bennett can give some kind of contribution next season with more floor time. Carrick Felix and Sergei Karasev should continue on the Canton Charge D-League roster next year. Matthew Delladova has proven he deserves a roster spot, would not want him in the starting lineup against the Miami Heat like under Mike Brown, but can help Cavs off the Bench.
Jarrett Jack is the most disappointing addition to last year’s roster, we never got the scoring punch he provided Golden State. Tristan Thompson should be moved off the roster though his numbers are very impressive, he rebounds well but never passes the ball out after offensive rebounds. Maybe a coach could maximize his developing raw potential but considering his projected contract demands Cavs should go in a different direction. Anderson Varejao should have been traded for James Harden and many other possible deals, fan favorite yes but often injured, huge contract and is on the decline of his career. It would be mutual beneficial to trade Andy to a contender in the Western Conference for assets.
Would like to see Tyler Zellar and CJ Miles continue with the Cavs, CJ Miles when healthy last year was a scoring machine, as well in spurts Zellar was improving on defense, also his mid range jumper is a great weapon off the bench. But CJ Miles is a free agent that will probably move on next season. Alonzo Gee has always been a great defender but been streaky on offense, greatest contribution is by giving depth to this roster. Pretty sure Scotty Hopson will be a part of a Cavs trade at some point this off-season.
It seems that the Cleveland Cavaliers Front Office is structured poorly to be successful in the NBA in regards to basketball. While Dan Gilbert, Nate Forbes, and their ownership group repeat their mantra regarding commitment to win, the lack of any action speaks differently. John Paxson, Danny Ferry, Chris Grant, and David Griffin current Cavs General Manager all had experience from other NBA franchises.
During the LeBron era, Ferry who Dan Gilbert trusted, allowed the Cavs to stack the front office with business majors and analytics guys. But the goal and structure was to maximize franchise value which was built around Lebron stardom. Can’t fault Gilbert and the owners group for that. Nothing has changed though, besides Ferry being fired, hiring Grant from within, and repeating same process with Griffin now permanent GM. Cavs have more people working in the shared interest of Gilbert Ownership group ventures than focusing on building the best Basketball team possible. Grant hired back Brown because Gilbert trusted him also probably thought it helped him publicly. But Bynum deal and Kyrie vs Dion made team tank along with drafting Bennett got Grant fired. Cavs have a flawed franchise model from a staff point with not enough Basketball experience involved, solution bring in President of Basketball Operations to join coaching staff and GM.
Below are options for Team President and Coach.
George Karl – resume speaks for itself this man has forgot more basketball than anybody currently employed for the Cavs. A former Cavs Coach he brings in a great eye for talent combined with institutional knowledge that would make him a great option for both vacant positions of Coach and Team President.
Clark Kellog – currently employed by CBS Sports to cover NCAA basketball and VP of player relations for the Pacers. Originally from Cleveland, former Buckeye Basketball player and current Board of Trustee Member has a wealth of experience from different levels of basketball for this role. He preaches pragmatism, patience, and perseverance, in combination with an eye for talent in college basketball to be book ended with front office experience garnered by working with combo Larry Bird/Donnie Walsh. There would be conflicts ending his contracts with above mentioned and commitment to The Ohio State University.
Best Choice Mark Price
Not for Nostalgia sake, Price has been a shooting specialist and now Asst Coach in the league for seven years. He is the league trend prototypical coach as a former point guard who’s teams competed hard under his leadership. Seems like the right choice for this situation, someone who can establish a mature relationship with Kyrie and all the Cavs young players which is needed now more than ever.
Alvin Gentry All Offense No Defense just not what Cavaliers need right now. Team cannot afford to go from extreme philosophy of defense to a philosophy of offense not good for a young team.
David Blatt is an unknown quantity which could help immediately in the NBA combined with the fact he has to know best Euro talent future and present! Originally from Boston has Coached Russian National team in the Olympics and Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel. He played four years for Princeton and legendary coach Pete Carril. Georgetown Coach John Thompson III runs the Carril Princeton offense we can expect a more sophisticated version of that in Cleveland. There’s no doubt he could help Cavs win and is used to personalities combined with different nationalities, which should prepare him for anything you can face with a young team.
Here’s a breakdown from #realfan @ohn_mike
Saw what David Blatt did in EuroLeague with practically all former U.S. college players against better fundamental players. The club he won with would be like the Sacramento Kings beating the Spurs in the WC Finals and then the Heat in NBA Finals. He’s currently the Russian National coach as well. They got a medal in each international/european event there is. In fact, he coached Sergey Karasev in 2012 during the Olympics. Lots of good international prospects this year, which he’s seen
The following NBA Free Agents could help the Cavs
Carmelo Anthony is one of the top 5 scorers in the NBA who would provide a viable scoring option and mismatch, defense never has been Melo strong suit but his rebounding has been excellent since leading Syracuse to a National Championship. He does plays great in a 2-3 zone, but never had a coach to utilize that at the NBA level
Jordan Hill is a proven re-bounder and low post scoring option
Jordan Crawford is flat out Scorer could lead a second unit from either guard position, high production on offense
DJ Augustin proved last year for Bulls in Derrick Rose absence that he can run an offense effectively and also score at a high level
Francisco Garcia excellent on Defense with an offensive game comparable to Bruce Bowen
Jeff Adrian tenacious rebounder with a mid range game
Marshon Brooks flat out scorer has never had enough minutes to fully develop his game
All of the above would not guarantee the Cleveland Cavaliers a Championship but for the first time the direction of the Franchise would be clear, expertise and basketball would be focused. Also hopefully the majority owner would be comfortable with experienced staff in place to keep the reputation of meddling to bed for ever.
As Always Go Cavs!