Dion Waiters had a very strong finish to the 2013-2014 season, putting up 19.3 ppg, 3.7 assists and 2.6 boards in 32.2 mpg after the all star break. While the Cavaliers hope Waiters will be able to build off of his strong finish, depth on the wings is crucial to the success of any team. Plus, with Waiters missing 33 games over his first two seasons, having a reliable backup to minimize the drop off if he does go down with an injury will be big if the team wants to make the postseason next year.
The Cavaliers have made it clear that they wish to gain experience, toughness and shooting among other things in the offseason. Spacing is something that's been in short supply over the past four seasons and is one of the main things that should be addressed In exploring what free agent options are out there, the logical place to start is with a member of this years squad that will be entering free agency:
Unrestricted Free Agents:
2014 Stats: 53.7 eFG%, 39.3 3pt%, Height: 6-6, Age: 27
C.J. Miles has spent the past two seasons in Cleveland and has turned out to be the best free agent signing of the Chris Grant era. He's a very good shooter overall, even though he can be prone to a cold streak every now and then. While it's tough to capture defensive impact with numbers, the Cavs opposition has a ORtg of 105.5 when he is on the court compared to 108.6 when he is on the bench. He is probably the best defender on the ball the Cavs had prior to the trade for Deng but can lose his man when he doesn't have the ball. While Miles isn't exactly a playmaker, he does cycle the ball well on the perimeter. Miles is also capable of playing both at the SG and SF positions, which is obviously a huge asset given the lack of depth the Cavs have had over the years at SF.
Off the court Miles appears to be a well liked player in the locker room as well as one of the more vocal players on the roster. For a very young team that's trying to create an identity, these are great attributes to possess. While some may not put much stock in this aspect of roster construction, I believe that we saw how bad things can get when players are not getting along.
2014 Stats: 49.7 eFG%, 39.4 3pt%, Height: 6-6, Age: 37
Vincent Lamar Carter has transformed himself into a true veteran and leader off the bench after years of being one of the leagues divas. He's still capable of creating both for himself and others off the dribble and is a more than capable defender and three point shooter. Carter has received a lot of praise from the Mavericks organization about the time and effort he's put in mentoring their younger players.
Carter has indicated a desire to stay with the Mavericks next year, but what Dallas intends to do next year is still up in the air. While Carter is older, he certainly would fit the bill of a veteran leader that's capable of spacing the floor and defend.
2014 Stats: 54 eFG%, 35.2 3pt%, Height: 6-5, Age: 23
Lance Stephenson had a breakout year with the Pacers this season and received some all star consideration. Stephenson is a terrific defender who has shown some ability to knock down threes, but he does come with his share of blemishes. Stephenson is a volatile personality that has had reported issues off the court, in practice and can be disruptive on the court at times. While I do enjoy Stephenson as a player, I don't think that he's the type of player/ personality that would fit with what this team is trying to build. Stephenson clearly views himself as a starter and there is little to no chance that he and Waiters could work together in a timeshare. Stephenson likely would excel if he were surrounded with veterans that could reign him in -- the Cavaliers are not that team.
2014 Stats: 50.2 eFG%, 36.9 3pt%, Height: 6-7, Age: 26
Wesley Johnson never lived up to the hype of being the fourth overall pick in the 2010 draft. His time in Minnesota and Phoenix were disappointing to say the least, but he did prove to be a serviceable rotation player with the Lakers this season. He struggles defensively, but did manage to shoot the ball from deep at an acceptable rate. I wouldn't sign Johnson with the intention of him playing a significant role, but he could be a decent ninth or tenth man in a rotation for the right price.
2014 Stats: 55.4 eFG%, 40.1 3pt%, Height: 6-4, Age: 26
Jodie Meeks, like Johnson, also enjoyed a breakout season on the Lakers last season. Since his rookie season he's always been able to shoot the ball, but this year he was able to match that with better decision making and more aggressiveness in attacking the rim. 38% of his shots came from within 8 ft compared to 25% the previous year. His new-found confidence in attacking the rim opened up his three point game and made him a much more efficient player. As was the case with Johnson, Meeks also struggles on the defensive end, but he could be a very effective option for the Cavs coming off the bench or in three guard lineups.
2014 Stats: 48.5 eFG%, 31.4% 3pt%, Height: 6-5, Age 30
Thabo Sefolosha has had a down year offensively by his standards, but has still remained in the starting lineup for the Thunder whenever he's been healthy. He's a defensive specialist that has shown an ability to shoot the three in the past. He moves the ball well on the perimeter and always seems to play within himself. While the Thunder will likely try to bring him back next season, it may be possible to lure him away given his down year and the emergence of Jeremy Lamb. If he is available, he would give the Cavaliers a legitimate perimeter stopper that they've lacked since 2010.
Brandon Rush, Ray Allen, Leandro Barbosa, MarShon Brooks, Rasual Butler, Jared Cunningham, Chris Douglas-Roberts, Jimmer Fredette, Xavier Henry, Mike Miller, Rodney Stuckey, Garrett Temple, Jerryd Bayless.
Restricted Free Agents:
2014 Stats: 48.5 eFG%, 39.5 3pt%, Height: 6-2 Age: 23
Bradley is an undersized guard that can play either at shooting or point guard position (although he's not particularly good at point guard). He's a tenacious defender that has proven to be a streaky scorer throughout his time in the league. Bradley's three point percentage bounced back this season, but his durability is questionable as he has only played in 110 games in the last two seasons. Boston seems to value him fairly highly, so it's unlikely that he leaves Beantown.
Jordan Crawford (aka Steezus)
2014 Stats: 47.2 eFG%, 31.6 3pt%, Height: 6-4, Age: 25
Another player that can play as a shooting guard or run the point at times if need be. Crawford had a strong start to last season with Boston before his play regressed in a reserve role for the Warriors. Crawford has not been effective at spacing the floor throughout his career and posted a PER of 11.9 in 42 games with Golden State this season. Given the inconsistency that's plagued his career and the availability of superior options, pursuing Crawford would not be advisable for the Cavaliers.
2014 Stats: 45.0 eFG%, 32.1 3pt%, Height: 6-7, Age: 25
Evan Turner is Andrew Bynum in a shooting guards body. He is a poor shooter, limited ball handler that does not play defense. His numbers were inflated by Philadelphia's up tempo offense, but was exposed once he was placed on a team that was trying to win. He doesn't really help a team win, or fill any of the needs that exist for the Cavs.
Players with player options
Nick Young is an explosive, yet streaky, scorer that doesn't provide a whole lot else. His shot selection is infamously poor, even though he does manage to make a reasonable number of them. While he is entertaining, he can be incredibly disruptive to his team and would probably not be the best target for the Cavs.
You may have heard of him. He isn't coming here.
Personally I'd like to see C.J. Miles return with the Cavs next season and if they could add another veteran that could play at both wing positions I believe the team would be in a much better position than they were last season.