I decided to look at possible starting centers for the Cavs in the event that we don't draft one with our first pick. It's not likely that The Wild Thing will be able to play starters minutes for the rest of his career, and Zeller is not capable of starting for a playoff team at this stage of his career. I had a look around the league and these are the players that I think are worth a look at:
Obviously he's about to get PAID. There are a number of suitors for the Montenegrin, and not many other FA options. Is it worth spending a huge chunk of our salary cap on him? I'm not sure. He'll be earning $12mil plus which could be a stretch compared to the whole league, but in the context of this FA market he's worth it. Even if Chris Grant was willing to offer this, Pek might even choose another team anyway. He could be Grant's number 1 option, but there should definitely be a solid number 2 option as well.
There has been plenty of articles posted about Horford already, and I think he's probably the best player we could get. But is he obtainable? This depends on a number of factors. Atlanta has hardly any players contracted for next season, and there's a high possibility that Danny Ferry will go the tank route for one of the various superstars available in the next draft. However, there's also a chance that they'll go big in he upcoming free agency market. If they do this, then there's no way we're getting Horford. But if they tank, then he's most likely going to be moved on. And who has better assets than the Cavs? (I also think Atlanta's a very likely destination for at least a few of Cleveland's 4 draft picksin the upcoming draft) Danny Ferry no longer works for Cleveland, but he can still make a decision that could have huge ramifications for this team.
The wildcard. This man could be anything or nothing. It's unlikely that he'll be traded but nothing can be said with certainty regarding the Kings. I'm all for signing him if it's possible. Risks need to be taken to win a championship, and Boogie is a risk worth taking.
I'm not sure on Splitter. Will he play as well as he has been outside of the Spurs? It's hard to tell. He's a maybe for me, and certainly not a number 1 option. It would be interesting having the twin Brazilian towers on the same team though.
I think Pau's skillset will enable him to play at a high level for a number of seasons to come. Also, his giant $19 million contract runs out just in time for the great free agent class of 2014 (2014's off-season is going to be pivotal for just about every team, with the outrageous draft and free agent classes). I think Pau's recent decline could be attributed to the emergence of Bynum last season, and playing with Dwight this season (and also his injuries). I feel that he will perform at a higher level if he was a full-time center. The only question is what will LA ask for him? I'm hoping not too much considering getting his contract off their books will help them greatly. If they are seriously considering amnestying him, then they wouldn't be asking too much for him.
I'm uncertain on Al. I have a feeling that he'll ask for a giant contract, and then after 1 or 2 seasons his game will decline dramatically. If this happens, he'll be earning around $15 million but he won't be playing at a level anywhere near that his paycheck demands. This would basically kill Cleveland's chances of winning a championship. Also, his defense is BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAD.
The most likely option for me. The Suns will surely want to get rid of him to help their tanking, and he would just leave them next season if he stayed anyway. Plus, he's on a cheap contract at $7.7 million(doesn't mean much for Cleveland, but it's always nice to have good players on reasonable contracts). I can't see any reason why Chris Grant shouldn't go for him. But what will it take to get him? Our two 2nd rounders plus CJ, or is that not enough? Probably, but it's a good starting point.
Those knees. Who knows how well that Philly team could have played with a fit Bynum? Such a shame that that trade, while reasonable when it was made, completely destroyed the 76ers. Anyway, back to the present. Gambling on Bynum's knees seems very dangerous. I don't know if it's worth doing, certainly not on a lengthy contract. If no-one else is willing to offer him any kind of contract and no other deals worked for the Cavs, then he'd be worth a shot on a 1 year + team option. I hope he gets healthy, he's certainly an interesting character for the league.
Less likely than Bynum to work out, but less risk in terms of money is involved. Also, he wouldn't be able to play starters minutes. Is it too risky to have Oden and Varejao on the same team? I think so. If we didn't have Andy on the roster, I think he'd be worth a shot.
So after looking at all of these players, here's who I would go after in order of ability & likelihood of a deal happening:
1. Horford (If Atlanta go the tanking route)
2.Gortat (Most likely IMO, would be very happy if this happens)
3.Gasol (If LA don't want much in return, he'd be great)
4.Cousins (Everything about him is SOOO unpredictable. His potential, his attitude, his team next season, all completely unknown)
5.Pekovic (Not likely, also will have a huge contract)
6.Bynum (On a short deal, could be good)
7.Splitter (More of a low-risk, low-reward option than the others)
8.Oden (High-risk, high-reward. Only this low because we've already got Andy)
9.Jefferson (Bad contract, could drop off quickly. Couldn't think of a worse outcome for the Cavs, and the reward in signing him isn't that high anyway)