In the words of Magic Johnson, "The basketball Gods are smiling down on Cleveland". Yes they are! After suffering through a devastating lose of the best player of this generation in humiliating fashion, the future looked gloomy and filled with mystery. Looking back on that night July 8, I can recall sitting in my brothers basement watching "The Decision" and feeling so lost after hearing Lebron's decision. Thinking to myself "What now?" We had Mo Williams, Anthony Parker, Antawn Jamison, and Andy V as our starters in the next season. We were the laughingstock of the entire NBA/country. Fast forward 3 years and I can say that it sure feels good to be a Wine and Gold fan.
By winning the Draft Lottery, the Cavs not only won the first pick in the draft, but they have the chance to improve the roster in so many ways. Drafting Nerlens Noel is the for sure way, but free agency is now a real possibility for the Cavs as well as making a blockbuster trade for a proven star. We can take any one of these directions to improve, and every route will lead to a major piece to our puzzle (if the situation is managed correctly, of course). Lets examine what possibilities lie ahead for the Cavs, and determine which you guys think is the best option.
Option: Draft Nerlens Noel, sit him for the year, get one more top pick in 2014
Many of you will not like the idea of picking high again next year. However, lets look closer at the idea of picking again in 2014. Nerlens Noel will not be ready for start of season, and he expects to be back by January next year. So, if the Cavs were to hold him back as long as possible and we finish season with a bottom 5 record, we would be guaranteed at least a top 5 pick. In 2014's draft, getting a top 5 pick is just as good as hitting this years lottery. I will say that the whole "this draft is weak" thing is so overblown. How many times did we hear 2011 draft was weak, then we snagged Kyrie, who along with many others such as Klay, Tristan, Parsons, Faried were all studs. Then, in 2014 you have a young roster of Kyrie, Nerlens (who I think will be one of best shot-blockers off the bat), 2014 lottery pick, possibly Dion if not traded, possibly Tristan, and whatever surrounding pieces. That would be a young contender for years to come. The Cavs really have nothing to lose in this draft as long they are exciting to watch next year while losing Im good with one more losing season if it means we get a top pick next year. Plus, with Nerlens sitting out and other variables, we would have a built-in excuse as to why we didnt make the playoffs.
Option: Trade pick for proven star
A real possibility is that the Cavaliers will move the pick for a proven star. With so many assets in players, draft picks, and cap space, their seems to be something big coming soon. One name that consistently comes up is Kevin Love, who I love (pun intended). I am extremely saddened that GM David Kahn got fired before this draft because I am convinced by his track record that we could have stolen Kevin Love easily with this pick alone. If we needed to throw in a player, we give them Shaun Livingston (the man seriously has a love for collecting PG'S). On a serious note, I think the Cavs could acquire Kevin Love and Derrick Williams for the #1 pick,#19, Alonzo Gee, and Andy. I do believe that either Dion or Tristan would have to be involved for Minn to accept so if I had to choose one I would say give up Tristan and keep Dion. Kevin Love would fit perfectly next to Kyrie Irving in the P-N-R, allowing Kyrie more space to get into the lane and kick or finish. His assist would go up at least to 8-10 a game, with other capable shooters being added to the mix. Also, maybe Derrick Williams will become a serviceable 3 until we find a better solution. I have heard Demarcus Cousins name floated out there, but the fact that he has such a bad reputation dating back to college is not a good thing you want for a young team. Yes, Demarcus is talented, but I don't think it is a good idea to add him to a mix of young players. If we do a trade, Kevin Love would be the best case scenario.
Option: Free Agency
The Cavaliers may be in the best position to make all the right moves with all of their assets. I can't imagine that they will draft 4 rookies to go along with Kyrie (21), Dion (21), Tristan (21) and Zeller (22), making at least 8 players of 15 under 22 years of age. So, trade is the most likely possibility for the Cavs. However, free agency now seems like a real option that never was there for us even when we had Lebron. The NBA is changing now due to the cap rules the league has put in place starting next season. We saw OKC give up James Harden, and Memphis give up Rudy for basically nothing but money reasons. Now, although the Cavs may someday face that same problem with so many upcoming players, we have many assets to offset the losses that OKC and Memphis did not. My point is that with teams now scrambling to stay under cap, top free agents wont have many places to look when they hit the market. Not only are the Cavaliers stacked with young prospects and a superstar in Kyrie, but we have the most cap space of any team, which means most money for top players. Now, more than ever, we will be attractive to those top players because of our players, our money, and lack of other viable options.
Option: Lebron James
I know I know, you're saying to yourself "Its not gonna happen move on". My personal preference would be to take one of the previous options, but lets be serious when I say that if Lebron James wanted to come back, we would all welcome him back. Sure, it would look like an old ex leaving you for someone better, then when he gets bored with his new fling and you are doing really well, he comes back to you. I get it folks, we want to show some dignity and pride. However, pride and common sense are different and common sense tells you that if the best player in the world wants to play for your team, you take him. If we draft Nerlens, a lineup of Kyrie, Dion, Lebron, Tristan and Nerlens would be so much fun to watch. Imagine the fast breaks, we would be the quickest team in the league. The defense would not be able to keep up with us because every rebound be a fast break. I admit that I was one of the fans saying to shut the Lebron return stuff down because its not happening and it makes us look desperate. However, as unlikely as it seemed before, it seems like a real possibility now, with Wade breaking down, Ray Allen/Battier retiring soon. I prefer the other options instead of waiting for this one, but it is a option to consider.
The Cleveland Cavaliers have a plethora of options at their disposal, and as long as we manage the situation right, we should be competing for a NBA championship by the year 2014. Lets discuss which option would be best for us, or which option you would want us to pursue. Its a fun to be a Cavaliers fan!