What moves do you think the Cavaliers should make this offseason? Without a doubt, we are at a critical juncture in the rebuilding process. Our draft picks and free agent signings this summer will play a key role in how successful the Cavaliers are in seasons to come.
Some feel that it is essential that the Cavaliers find a SF to replace Alonzo Gee this offseason. Others think that finding a reliable big man to solidify our defense is what will take us to the next level. Whichever angle you lean towards, though, I think we can all agree that we need significant upgrades at both positions before we can make a title run.
Before we look at what will be available at those positions, let's take a brief look at what our roster, as currently constructed, will look like in the 2014-15 season:
PG Kyrie Irving, SG Dion Waiters, SF Alonzo Gee, PF Tristan Thompson, C Anderson Varejao, C Tyler Zeller. 6 players with a total salary of $31.7 million. Every one of these contracts is a team option. Extensions for Kyrie and Tristan will kick in after the 2014-15 season, which will likely put us over the salary cap. Under the current CBA, a team may not offer any more than the veteran minimum to a free agent if they are over the salary cap (unless they have a trade exception). This means that we need to have all the key pieces in place by opening day in 2014.
So, what are our options? This will likely be our last season in the top half of the lottery, so we can fill these holes through the 2013 NBA Draft, or free agency in 2013 and 2014. Let's look at what's available in each:
2013 Free Agency - The top centers available are Dwight Howard, Andrew Bynum, and Al Jefferson. Also on the market are Samuel Dalembert, Chris Kaman, DeJuan Blair, Nikola Pekovic (RFA) and Tiago Splitter (RFA). The top small forwards are Andre Iguodala (ETO) and ... Stephen Jackson? Seriously, there really isn't much else at SF this year.
2014 Free Agency - The top small forwards available are LeBron James (ETO), Carmelo Anthony (ETO), Danny Granger, Rudy Gay (PO), and Paul Pierce. If ever there was a year to add a SF in free agency, this is it. At center, the premier players are DeMarcus Cousins (RFA) and Greg Monroe (RFA), but their teams will match any offer they get. That leaves Pau Gasol and Marcin Gortat as the best of the rest.
To sum up, 2013 free agency has plenty of centers available, while 2014 free agency has some premier small forwards. What about the upcoming draft?
2013 NBA Draft - (Players marked with an asterisk might not declare this year) The players that have the potential to be NBA starting centers are Nerlens Noel*, Alex Len, Cody Zeller, Isaiah Austin, Rudy Gobert*, Steven Adams*, and Willie Cauley-Stein* for a total of 7 players. At small forward there is Shabazz Muhammad, Otto Porter, Alex Poythress, and Glenn Robinson III* for a total of 4 players. There is clearly more depth at center, but at this point we cannot be sure how many of them will declare for this draft.
Since there aren't many options for centers in 2014 free agency, we need to solve that problem this year. The question is how to do it: sign a free agent or use our lottery pick? Another question we must answer: Should we wait until 2014 to sign a small forward, or should we put a contingency plan in place by signing or drafting someone this year? Please share your opinions on these questions in the comments.
My opinion is this: (I'm assuming that 5 or 6 of the top center prospects do in fact declare for the 2013 draft, and that the Lakers make the playoffs) In the draft I would prefer to use our first pick on a small forward, then trade our other 3 picks to move up a few spots and draft a center in the bottom half of the lottery. This would give us good long-term potential at each position.
During 2013 free agency I would pursue a center, ideally Al Jefferson or Andrew Bynum. If that doesn't work then I would try to re-sign Speights to a 2 year deal, giving us a quality rotation player to eat up minutes when Andy Varejao and/or Greg Oden is hurt. This would ensure that our newly drafted center wouldn't have to play ridiculous minutes in his rookie year (like Zeller has this year).
Finally, in 2014 I would try to sign one of the premier small forwards. If successful then perhaps we would trade the SF from the 2013 draft. Then again, I think a lineup of Kyrie - Dion - Otto Porter - LeBron - Tristan would be absolutely amazing on offense, and with either LeBron or Tristan guarding the opposing center I think they could hold their own on defense against most teams.
What path should the Cavaliers take?
Find a C this year, and wait for 2014 to fix our SF position. (18 votes)
Do whatever it takes to fix both the SF & C positions this offseason, even if that means using up our cap space. (1 vote)
Try to fix both positions as well as possible this year, while maintaining enough cap space to pursue a premier SF in 2014. (22 votes)
WHY ISN'T THIS FANPOST IN ALL CAPS??? ALSO, IF WE TRADE KYRIE IRVING WE COULD FILL BOTH POSITIONS NOW!!!!! (7 votes)
48 total votes