The biggest regular season in the history of the Cavaliers gets underway - from a preperation standpoint - today with the beginning of Training Camp. All around the NBA, teams are getting together with the media, talking about how they will be the team standing where Kobe Bryant and the Lakers stood 3 months or so ago. For some, dreams of a NBA Title are just that, dreams. For other, like the Cavaliers, the expectations are huge, as is the pressure to win.
As the Cavaliers get set to meet with the media this afternoon, let's take a look at some of the question marks surrounding the team -
LeBron James and his pending Free Agency -
We have all season to dissect every comment LeBron makes this season as he moves full-steam ahead towards Free Agency next summer. In reality, nothing has been settled, and likely nothing will be settled until next July. The Cavaliers have a contract extension on the table, and LeBron has until June 30th to accept it. It is still feasible, given the economic outlook in the NBA, that LeBron could simply sign the extension and remain with the Cavaliers for 3 more seasons. It is more likely, however, that LeBron entertains all the possibilities on the open market before doing what I expect him to do - re-signing with the Cavaliers. Would that elusive title for the Cavs make it more or less likely LeBron stays? That is the question, but there is no doubt the Cavaliers have surrounded him with the most talented roster he's played with in Cleveland.
How will Delonte West's legal troubles affect the team -
Delonte West is in some legal hot water in regards to a weapons charge he is facing in Maryland. West was arrested earlier this month after being pulled over speeding on his motorcycle. West was carrying two handguns and had a shotgun in a guitar case on his back. As troubling as this is, it is even more so considering West's battle with depression and bi-polar disorder. Distractions like this are never good for a team, on or off the court. West is a huge part of the team, but the team needs to be sure West's head is in it - literally and figuratively. Once all the details of the case come to light it is likely West will face some kind of suspension form the League as well. West's situation is likely to be a hot topic during today's media event.
For a team that won 66 games last season, there sure was a lot of turnover in the locker room. Shaquille O'Neal is the "big" acquisition and provides LeBron James the first real post-up threat he has had in Cleveland. O'Neal wasn't the only addition. Anthony Parker comes to the Cavs from Toronto and should provide size and defense on the perimeter. Also brought in to help at the 3-point line is former Heat G/F Jemario Moon. Like Parker, Moon has the length to create issues for opposing perimeter players and takes a lot of pressure off of LeBron, Mo Williams and Delonte West on defense. On paper, the additions significantly improve the talent level. How long it takes the new guys to fit in - on and off the court - will be key.
Handling one superstar is one thing. Especially when that star is as unselfish as LeBron. Add another huge personality to the mix, and well, it becomes something to keep our eyes on. To his credit, Shaq has said all the right things. The Cavaliers are LeBron's team, and Cleveland is LeBron's town. Shaq is here to take "a damn good team" to the next level. Still, if there are any bumps in the road, Brown's steady hand will be key.
How will the new contract affect Anderson Varejao's effort
While I am confident that Varejao will bring it every night it deserves to be mentioned since there are plenty of examples of players getting the big money and taking the rest of their career's off(Shawn Kemp anyone?). I don;t believe Varejao is that kind of player, for a lot of reasons. Coming from Brazil, Varejao is a national celebrity. There is the huge weight of National Pride for Varejao and his every move is talked about in his homeland. International players always seem to have something to prove to their American counterparts and that chip will likely keep Varejao grounded.
Your turn. What are your questions surrounding the Cavaliers as Training Camp gets started?