The Cleveland Cavaliers are at a very interesting point in their rebuild. While their attempt to "go for it" this season did not go particularly well, they are still left with a bunch of young assets with upside, a war chest full of draft picks, and plenty of cap space. The Cavaliers also have Kyrie Irving, a star player. Now while the Cavaliers have all these assets, their ability to fit with one another has been rightfully questioned. Luckily, the team is in the unique position to basically create whatever identity they want. While it's fun to speculate what potential trades could happen, it's so hard to figure out exactly what players are available and what it would take to acquire them. So instead, let's take a look at what free agents are available and what impact they could have on the Cavs roster, starting with the center position.
Unrestricted Free Agents:
2014 Stats: 13.2 pts, 9.5 rebs, 1.5 blks, 54.2% FG%,
Gortat is an intriguing option in my eyes for the Cavaliers. He's a 6'11 center that is very good in pick and roll situations. While he doesn't great range, he's more than capable of stepping out and hitting the 8-16 ft jump shot. He's also a very good finisher around the rim, shooting 71.09% in the restricted area during the 2013-2014 season. While he's no Tim Duncan, Gortat has shown that he can have a positive impact on the defensive end of the floor; posting a 103 Drtg and 1.5 blocks a game (the leading Cavs in blocks this season were Bynum at 1.2 and Hawes at 1.0 per game). Gortat is 30 years old and was paid just over 7.7 million last season. If the Cavaliers could lock him up for about 3/21 to 3/24, I believe they should strongly considering embracing the Marcin.
2014 Stats: 17.4 pts, 9.7 rebs, 1.5 blks, 48% FG%
I know what you're thinking, why didn't we trade Dion Waiters and a first for this guy when we had the chance? Well now he's available to be signed without giving up one of our best young players and a draft pick! Gasol will be turning 34 years old in July, and while he's certainly not the all star he used to be, he's still a pretty decent starting center. Gasol shot 64.1% in the restricted area this season and 38.56% outside of the paint. While he can hit that shot, he's clearly better suited to be posting up and putting in work in the paint. While he does block shots, he's not exactly a great defender and his engagement level on that end of the floor has been questioned in the past. He comes with a fair amount of injury concerns and his age is certainly a factor. My gut feeling is someone will offer him more than he is worth, but if not, he could at least be a player the Cavs look into.
Spencer Hawes, Aka Steve Hawes, Aka the big republican.
2014 Stats: 13.2 pts, 8.3 rebs, 1.2 blks (1.0 in CLE), 47% FG%, 45.2% 3pt%
Cavs fans are obviously very familiar with Hawes, who was acquired at the trade deadline from the Philadelphia 76ers. Hawes and Irving developed some pretty great chemistry and he was able to open up the floor pretty well in his time here. While Hawes isn't a great defender for his position, he wasn't as large of an abomination as people expected. Mike Brown did appear to grow frustrated with his inconsistent effort at times, and one would wonder if how he would perform with a long term deal if that's how he behaved in a contract year. With all that being said, Hawes did seem to be a pretty good fit with the roster and appears to get along well with his teammates. While there are clearly some valid concerns surrounding him, I would imagine the Cavaliers would strongly consider bringing back him for the future.
Cole Aldrich, Chris Kaman,
Ryan Hollins, Drew Gooden, Greg Oden, Nazr Mohammed, Jermaine O'Neal, Emeka Okafor.
Players with player options:
Here is some players that have the option to stay on their current deal for another year or opt out and enter the waters of free agency.
Shot blocking big man with outstanding/ horrifying tattoo's. He's in a pretty great situation this season, but who knows what the future holds for Miami. He'll also be turning 36 this summer.
Technically he has an ETO (Early Termination Option), but it's very unlikely that he passes up the 12 million he is owed for next season. He's a poor man's Spencer Hawes and should not be considered should he choose to opt out.
Byron "don't call me BJ" Mullins:
Ideally he's a power forward, but at 6'10 he would be capable of playing some small ball center. He doesn't rebound particularly well, but he's a 36% 3pt shooter and a good passer for his position. It's likely that he'll be opting out of his deal as his value is at an all time high. He wouldn't be the worst guy for the Cavaliers to consider.
Another Knicks big man that will not be opting out of his ETO as he is getting PAID.
I'm sure he's dying to get out of San Antonio. His situation is reminiscent of Kevin Garnett in Minnesota. But maybe he'll choose to stay, I don't know.
Restricted Free Agents:
6'11 center with solid passing and a strong post game. He doesn't give you any rim protection and his overall defensive acumen is questionable at best. But he is still a very promising player in this league and one of the few players that can get you easy buckets when you dump it to him in the post.
If you like pipes in your dreams:
Outstanding, under-appreciated big man. He is very capable of stretching the floor and playing really solid defense. Also fully capable of taking over games, still a star caliber player. He has an ETO this summer like every other member of Miami's big three, but he's stated in the past that he would never want to play in Cleveland.
So in conclusion, this is not the sexiest crop of centers to hit free agency. But there certainly are several decent options out there for whomever is taking over as the GM of the Cavaliers if a better option does not materialize via trade or the draft.