The Cleveland Cavaliers have gone through a lot over the last couple of decades, being one of the league’s laughingstocks before landing LeBron James, just to take another major downfall upon his departure, all the way to 3 consecutive Championship runs since his homecoming.
All those up and downs have made the Cavs fan base stronger than ever, but the team’s front office has always struggled to keep their stars happy, and it always seems like they’re a move away from completely falling apart.
Following this campaign, the Cavs face one of the toughest tasks in the Association throughout the summer: either trying to convince LeBron James of staying beyond this season or just kick-starting their rebuilding process with the Brooklyn Nets pick and the young assets they recently acquired.
Today, we’re going to try and give a hand to the team’s front office, letting them know exactly the 6 moves they need to do this offseason if they want to stay relevant for the foreseeable future.
6. Trade Tristan Thompson and JR Smith
Both Tristan Thompson and JR Smith were key elements of the Cavs’ title run but both of them have gone downhill ever since the start of the campaign, and they actually wind up hurting the team way more than their actual contributions.
Smith’s been quite unreliable from beyond the arc and his defense took a major toll this season, while Thompson’s never going to be an offensive factor and has looked out of rhythm and slow rather than the dominant offensive rebounder he once was, so they should just try and deal them in exchange for some late 2nd rounders or spare parts.
5. Buyout George Hill
George Hill has been a major upgrade at the point guard position for the Cleveland Cavaliers and his top-notch backcourt defense is already proving to make an impact on a team that craved defenders so much, but he’s not the go-to-guy for this team’s future at the point.
Hill agreed to a 3 year-57 million dollar deal with the Kings before being traded to Cleveland, so they need to discuss a buyout with him in order to clear some cap space and pursue a top-tier talent in this stacked free agent class.
4. Add Veterans
Cleveland has already surrounded LeBron James with very promising young talents as Rodney Hood, Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr, but they kind of need the veteran leadership players like Richard Jefferson and Channing Frye used to provide during their Championship run.
So, what they can and should do is try to snub both Vince Carter and Zach Randolph out of the Kings and get them on board of their project, also pursuing Wesley Matthews as a 3 and D specialist.
3. Sign Paul George
Paul George has been closely tied with the Los Angeles Lakers ever since the past campaign, but with Brandon Ingram blossoming as a standout wingman and the Lakers not being close to contention, it would be safest for George to go ring-chasing and make a move back to the Eastern Conference.
If the Cavs manage to trade away Tristan Thompson and JR Smith, they can clear enough cap space to offer Paul George a major contract and he’s going to be extremely tempted to ink his signature on.
2. Trade Kevin Love and the Nets Pick for a Superstar
The Cavs can’t trade their Brooklyn Nets pick until draft night, but considering this pick is supposed to be among the top 5, it’s very likely that they’re going to have a lot of takers and draw major interest with this extremely stacked draft class.
Also, Love is set to become an unrestricted free agent in 2019 so it would make a lot of sense for them to try and move him while his value’s still pretty high, and that Brooklyn pick is reason enough to try and make this deal work at all costs.
1. Sign LeBron James
And obviously, all of this moves have one main purpose: convincing LeBron James to go on and end his career as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers, putting together an extremely competitive squad to make yet another Championship run and prove him that they’re actually capable of surrounding him with top-tier talent.
James has still a lot left on his tank and being the kind of superstar he is, all of these moves would make it really easy for Cleveland to once again lead the Eastern Conference following this campaign’s brief hiatus amid the Celtics and Raptors surge.