I've gone back and forth on this for a couple of days now, but I think today after really going over the numbers I've firmly cemented my position in favor of going hard after Nic Batum.
First off consider the player. Batum is 23 years old and fits this team perfectly (Chad Ford said as much in his chat today). Who else is out there that is a better option not considering the contract (I'll get to that in a second)? Free agent this year or next? Go check em out there's not a lot of intriguing options. Trade? Are any available SF's better than Batum? Not really. 2013 Draft? Pick wouldn't be all that younger than Batum and would need a lot more time to develop. Not to mention the risk that we make a bad pick.
I don't think it's in question whether Batum would be a good fit here as a player. The question has been the contract. So time to get hypothetical. Let's say the Cavs offered him the max 4 year $58 million. This breaks down to roughly $13.5 mil this year, with roughly $600,000 raises, for a final salary in '15/'16 of right around $15.5 million.
This year the Cavs have a committed salary of about $45 million to 13 players so far once you account for our RFA's and rookies. If you add in Batum that gets you to a couple million under $60 million, which would still leave room for the Cavs to sign a backup PG for a mil or two.
Next year the Cavs have only $30 million committed to 7 players. Add in two mid first round picks and you're at roughly $33-35 million to 9 players. Add in Batum and we've got under $50 million for 10 players (KI, Waiters, Gee, Batum, TT, Zeller, Andy, Jones, two first round picks). All those players could/should be contributors and we still have more than $10 million in cap space to fill out the rest of the roster.
The year after that (14/15) the Cavs would have roughly $55 million committed to the core previously mentioned plus another two first rounders (their own and Sactown's). 12 total players with $5-$8 million in cap space (depending on actual cap number). This is the last year of Andy's deal and the last year of Kyrie and TT's rookie contracts.
So this is where the situation would get interesting. In 2015/16 Kyrie and TT would be eligible for extensions. Let's say Kyrie gets the max deal and TT starts out at $10 million (if you object, just let me know). This puts the Cavs at just over $60 million when accounting for the loss of Andy and yet another two 1st rounders. (KI, DW, NB, TT, TZ, Gee and 6(!) first round picks). That's 12 total spots and the Cavs would still be under, or at worst slightly over, the cap. And tell me that's not a championship roster. Even if some picks don't develop, you've got 6(!) mid to late first round. You're bound to hit on a couple.
After this Batum and Gee come off the books, freeing up about 20 million to go towards extensions of DW and/or Zeller. To me its THE absolute perfect player, at the perfect time. It is set up too good to actually happen though and that is what disappoints me. So this goes to Chris Grant. If you're reading this, and I know you are, make it happen. If you disagree let me know and tell me why.
(Note: Contract information regarding draft picks comes from Larry Coon's FAQ page on the new CBA. And if anyone know how I could post a picture of a screen shot, I could post the Excel file I used to help make this a little more clear.)