On Sunday night the San Antonio Spurs wrapped a dominating season. They won 62 games in the rugged Western Conference. They rolled through the playoffs after being pushed to seven games by Dirk Nowitzki, Rick Carlisle, and the Dallas Mavericks. They made quick work of LeBron James and the two-time defending champion Miami HEAT in the Finals and celebrated Tim Duncan's fifth championship with the organization.
And now the season is over.
Now, the Cavaliers have some decisions to make. A lot of them.
First, or maybe not first, they must decide on a head coach. It was thought that they wanted to have a head coach in place before next Thursday's NBA draft, but now, there are rumblings that might not happen. David Blatt, Tyronn Lue, Mark Price, and Alvin Gentry appear to be the guys in the guys in the mix. Miami assistant David Fizdale has been mentioned repeatedly as well.
"Tom Withers Says The Cavs Will "Probably Hire Alvin Gentry" As Head Coach" http://t.co/Y3jED4h80m— SusieB (@Susie_B_) June 19, 2014
David Blatt advised not to take Cavs job, but to take assistant job with Golden State — http://t.co/MnN8loJ3VB— Craig Lyndall (@WFNYCraig) June 19, 2014
I'm told there is a mystery candidate for the Cavs coaching vacancy. I have no idea who that person might be.— realcavsfans.com (@realcavsfans) June 18, 2014
The @realcavsfans account then said that Fizdale was probably not the mystery candidate.
Regardless of who the choice is, it will likely need to be in place by the time the Cavaliers begin negotiating a contract with Kyrie Irving. Because, you know, it'd make the negotiations easier.
It'd also help to have the coach involved in the draft process. The draft is Thursday. It's seven days away. Will the Cavaliers select Joel Embiid? Andrew Wiggins? Jabari Parker? The local guys like Joe Lull are casting doubt on the idea that it'll be Embiid. ESPN reporters like Chad Ford and Jeff Goodman say it's likely to be Embiid.
There could also be a trade centered on the top pick, whether it's to move down with Philadelphia to pick up another asset or player, or to dream big and bring Kevin Love to Cleveland. If the Cavs are willing to move the top pick for Love, it's unlikely in my eyes that another team can match what Cleveland can offer.
Again, I have no idea what choice the Cavaliers will ultimately make next week. They might make a choice of Jabari Parker, and then once free agency gets going, decide to trade that pick for Kevin Love a few weeks later. I wonder if they have gauged Minnesota's interest in the top 3 prospects ...
July 1st is when the NBA season turns over. If the Cavaliers renounce the contracts of Luol Deng, Spencer Hawes, and CJ Miles (which won't preclude them from re-signing them), the Cavs should have about $15 million in cap space. They would have the ability to get more space pretty easily.
They have a few decisions to make in this regard. Is Kyrie Irving worth a max contract? Does the team want to extend Tristan Thompson long term? What is he worth? The team could also just let Thompson play out the year for $5.1 million (which is either right around what he's worth or a bargain) and then let him become a restricted free agent next summer.
If LeBron James opts out of his contract, the Cavaliers will certainly push to bring back the Akron native. Having the number one pick and Kyrie Irving, as well as other young players and assets, makes Cleveland an attractive destination. There are reports that Irving and James don't get along, but James wants to win. If the Cavs construct a roster that makes James think he can do that, he might come.
If or when the Cavs strike out on James, they will still have that cap space. They might dangle Dion Waiters and Tristan Thompson in trade talks, as well as three possible first round picks they might have in 2015. I am not sure who they would target. They might decide to just invest in a couple players who fit into what new General Manager David Griffin wants and continue to let the young core grow.
Summer League will be here before you know it. Sergey Karasev, Anthony Bennett, Carrick Felix, and presumably the first overall draft choice will all compete. It should be fun. We said that last year, and then Bennett and Karasev didn't play. We said that the year before, but Waiters showed up out of shape. Summer League doesn't matter at all, but it would be nice to see Karasev and Bennett play well after disappointing rookie campaigns. Maybe we will have a coach by then.
Hiring a coach, making decisions on Irving and Thompson, using a first overall draft choice, navigating trades, utilizing cap space, seeing what our young guys got at Summer League. It's going to be a wild summer. Last time the Cavaliers had so much uncertainty and promise, it was ... well, it was 12 months ago.