Lately, I’ve been thinking about how crowded the Cavaliers rotation has become this summer. Right now, the Cavs have Kyrie Irving, Jarrett Jack, Dion Waiters, Sergey Karasev, Carrick Felix, Alonzo Gee, Earl Clark, CJ Miles, Anthony Bennett, Tristan Thompson, Anderson Varejao, Andrew Bynum, and Tyler Zeller all deserving of rotation minutes. That is 13 players. Even if you feel that Carrick Felix doesn’t deserve major minutes, that still leaves 12 players and a very crowded rotation.
As I looked at this team, I wondered if there were moves this offseason which would have been more prudent to make for the team. This brought me to my next idea: Signing Andre Iguodala. The first way to look at this, in my opinion, is from a salary perspective.
The NBA salary cap for this season was set at 58.679 million dollars. The Cavaliers had already committed $9,036,364 to Anderson Varejao, $5,607,240 to Kyrie Irving, $4,062,000 to Tristan Thompson, $3,894,240 to Dion Waiters, $3,250,000 to Alonzo Gee, and $1,633,440 to Tyler Zeller. This gave the Cavaliers, by my calculations, a total salary commitment of $27,483,284 dollars. In other words, the Cavaliers had a potential 30 million dollars in salary cap space. Also to be included though, Anthony Bennett and Sergey Karasev have cap holds of $4,436,900 and $1,223,200 respectivly. This brings the total salary up to around 33 million with around 25 million is spending room providing CJ Miles was waived and his $2,225,000 salary was wiped off the books.
I am a big fan of the Andrew Bynum signing. I was rooting for it from day 1. I’m very glad it happened and do not believe in any way, shape, or form that it was a bad move for the Cavaliers. So provided the Cavaliers stick with signing Bynum in my scenario, that is another 12,250,000 in committed salary for this season (I understand only 6 million is guaranteed but for salary cap purposes, this is the amount which counts). If my calculations are correct, this brings the Cavaliers total salary up to $45,393,384. This left around $13,285,616 in cap room.
In reality, the Cavaliers used up this cap room on Jarrett Jack, Earl Clark, and CJ Miles. An alternative course of action could have been going after Andre Iguodala. It is well known that Andre Iguodala turned down more money to sign with the Golden State Warriors. He signed a 4 year 48 million dollar deal with the Warriors after reportedly turning down a 4 year 52 million dollar deal with the Nuggets. If the Cavaliers had offered Iguodala all of the remaining cap room leading to a deal totaling 53 million over 4 years, would he have signed? I’m not sure. It is possible he liked what Golden State had going for them due to the young talent. The Cavaliers have even more young talent than Golden State, though. Long and short, I don’t know what Iguodala would have done, as I am not a mind reader, but let’s say for arguments sake that he would have accepted the Cavaliers offer.
Would a rotation of: PG Kyrie Irving, SG Dion Waiters, SF Andre Iguodala, PF Tristan Thompson, C Andrew Bynum, 6th Man Anderson Varejao, 7th Man Anthony Bennett, 8th Man Alonzo Gee, 9th Man Sergey Karasev, 10th Man Tyler Zeller, 11th Man Carrick Felix be a better rotation than the actual rotation? Dion Waiters and Andre Iguodala would take up secondary ball handling responsibilities. There is still a ton of versatility and solid depth in this lineup with better star power. I think this rotation is much better than the real rotation if the focus is solely on 2013-2014. As we all know, though, the Cavaliers have been trying to keep max cap space open for the summer of 2014 for well-known reasons.
Is a Cavaliers team featuring Andre Iguodala a championship caliber team? I’m not sure to be honest. I think the argument could be made that, if healthy, this team could compete for a championship sometime in the next 2 years before Bynum’s deal expires. Even the best teams would have a very difficult time guarding this team. Iguodala would bring an instant upgrade on the defensive side of the basketball. I think the bench would be a nightmare for opposing teams trying to guard Karasev, Bennett, and Varejao alongside whichever starters are playing with the unit at the time. What is the total cost of the Andre Iguodala deal? Jarrett Jack, Earl Clark, CJ Miles, and the opportunity cost of a big time free agent next summer. Would it have been worth it? I think that all depends on whether you think there will be a big name free agent signing with the Cavaliers next summer and whether you think this team could win a championship. One last detail not to be forgotten, the Cavaliers have a plethora of first round picks in the next few years to replace diminishing talent. This is a key note that could end up filling out this roster even more. If you were in Chris Grant’s gigantic shoes, would you have gone after Andre Iguodala?