Now that the lockout is over I'm sure you all will see plenty more articles starting off almost the same way as this one. But truly, it is nice to no longer have to make the addendum to every speculation of "pending the outcome of the lockout." The lockout totally sucked. Not being locked out is awesome, for now we can speculate like there's no tomorrow. So for my first act of speculation post-lockout, I'll give a breakdown of some potential free agent pickups for the Cavaliers this season and a small taste of potential candidates for the next season.
Nene Hilario (C):
Nene is a banger. He's an excellent rebounder and defender. He can be pretty nifty around the basket too, which he showed time and again after Denver traded Carmelo Anthony last season. Nene was the true star of that Denver playoff team, and that is why they will do all they can to resign him.
Nene could help any team, especially the lowly Cavs. With questions regarding Anderson Varejao's true position and whether he should start of come off of the bench, a true starting center would be a great addition to the Cavs' roster. Having an offensive threat in the post would take pressure off of Kyrie Irving and the other perimeter players, something the Cavs could sorely use. We'll see if Tristan Thompson can develop enough of a post game to cause such a threat, but it likely won't be very soon.
Arron Afflalo (SG):
Arron Afflalo has emerged as a solid starting shooting guard. He doesn't do anything fancy. He doesn't really do any one thing particularly great. He's a solid shooter, a solid handler, solid passer, solid defender, solid everything. And there's definitely nothing wrong with being solid.
The Cavaliers could certainly use some solid at the shooting guard position. Since he is a restricted free agent, it's unlikely that he won't be back with Denver next season, but it is possible. Afflalo would be a nice fit on the Cavs' roster, especially considering the current vacuum at shooting guard.
Marc Gasol (C):
This is a man. A manly, bearded, manly man. An excellent rebounder, defender, and vastly underrated and under-utilized post-scorer, Marc Gasol would contribute to the Cavs in much the same way as Nene would. He would provide an inside threat without sacrificing any defensive capabilities. Rather, he would only serve to strengthen the defense.
Memphis has been pretty clear that they want to resign Gasol, and for obvious reason. Good big men are hard to come by these days, just ask the Miami Heat. Memphis will most likely be able to pull it off, but in the event they don't, nearly every single team will be putting in an offer for Gasol.
Kris Humphries (PF):
Hey, with a Kardashian lover on our team, we're bound to win a title, right? Wait, what's that you say? They've done what? Oh, dear. Well, um, he can... um... rebound some? Ya, he can rebound some. Oh, and I hear he's awesome at layups.
Nick Young (SG):
Nick Young put up some eye-catching scoring numbers last year, rather unexpectedly. The problem? He became one of the most inefficient, selfish players in the league in order to do so. So why put him on this list? Well, did still score all of those points. And while I understand the importance of team chemistry and overall efficiency just as well as the next NBA-diehard, I don't think anyone could look at Nick young and miss the raw talent there.
If the price wasn't too high, it would be an intriguing prospect to see whether he could be groomed into a solid scoring guard. He has all the tools, but so have many NBA burnouts. Nevertheless, an interesting option for future development.
And just to whet your appetites...
2012 Free Agents:
- Dwight Howard
- Kevin Garnett
- Steve Nash
- Deron Williams
- Derrick Rose
- Kevin Love
- Russell Westbrook
- Brook Lopez
Just keep in mind that the Cavaliers' strategy going forward should be to build through the draft, partly because it's the most proven way to build a contender, and also because it is very hard to lure free agents to Cleveland. Any FA we pick up should be a complimentary piece with some measure of youth. Someone on the incline not the decline. So temper enthusiasm with a healthy dose of home-brewed Cleveland doubt and pessimism.