The start of the season is an exciting time for us, all of the hype, emotion, and fun is finally coming back to the Q. It's not exciting for everyone though, as a few guys will see (at least for now) their NBA dream come to an end. The Cavaliers have 20 guys under contract right now, 5 over the regular season limit of 15.
- 12 Contracts are fully guaranteed: Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, Earl Clark, Alonzo Gee, Tyler Zeller, Tristan Thompson, Anderson Varejao, Jarrett Jack, Anthony Bennett, Sergey Karasev, CJ Miles, and Carrick Felix
- 2 Contracts are partially guaranteed: Andrew Bynum and Matthew Dellavadova
- 6 Contracts are not guaranteed: Elliot Williams, Henry Sims, DeSagana Diop, Jermaine Taylor, and Kenny Kadji
Lets state the obvious first, the 12 guaranteed contracts and Andrew Bynum are not going anywhere. Though we may not be impressed with Clark yet, or entirely thrilled with Alonzo Gee, the team is not eating 4 million dollars a piece for the chance to employ other journeymen. Carrick Felix and Sergey Karasev will most likely see a lot of time in Canton, but that still takes up a roster spot. So this leaves us with two spots for 7 guys, lets take a look:
- Matthew Dellavadova: I would give him the second strongest odds of this group for making the team. His contract is partially guaranteed and was offered after they had their hands on him all summer, and we know that Chris Grant trusts his gut. I always come across as bagging on him, just because I would prefer a veteran guard to round out the roster, but Delly HAS shown good things. He has a good basketball IQ, and a solid jumper from most places on the floor. He organizes the offense well, and plays hard and within himself. I am not a fan of his ball handling ability, and combined with his limited athleticism he lacks the ability to get to the rim at all. At 6'4, if he could add the ability to draw smaller guards into the post a la Chauncey Billups and Andre Miller it would make him a much more complete player.
- Henry Sims: He has flashed a great jump shot and sneak athleticism combined with average to above defense. He has the size to play center or power forward and is a very good passer. I like him quite a bit. At this point I think he is a lock, given his play and Tyler's injury status.
- Jermaine Taylor: I think Taylor will be the "odd man out" of this group. He has played well in Summer league and his small pre-season time, but there just isn't a place for him. He is strong getting to the rim and has displayed that prominently, scoring in bunches. The book on him though, is that this is the same thing he did to earn roster spots in Houston and Sacramento, and while we'd like to get a longer look at him to see if he finds consistency, it doesn't seem prudent to do so at the cost of a guaranteed deal or a player that is more consistent.
- Kenny Kadji: Kadji came into camp as the favorite big man to make the roster, but has struggled mightily after his pre-season opening explosion against the Bucks. 25 years old, he doesnt have the size to play center or play with his back to the basket. When his jumper deserts him, he is a poor offensive player, and has not shown the ability to play strong defense yet. He could get a look from teams with a serious depth issue at PF, but I think he will end up in Canton or overseas.
- DeSagana Diop: I don't think he ever had a real chance to make this team. A large body with good defensive instincts, he was just in camp for guys to shoot over.
- Elliot Williams: A former first round pick with a injury history longer than his list of achievements, Williams still looks like he is working his way back into basketball shape. He has not received many minutes and will most likely head to a D-League team to continue ironing out his game. I like him a lot, so I hope it's ours.
- Michael Lee: a 27 year old rookie forward from St. Bonaventure, Lee has received very few minutes and has not shown enough for me to tell what his strengths are. He will be headed to the D League.
NOTE: As of the time of this writing, Lee was still on the roster. After last night's game against the Pacers he was released. The Cavs roster now stands at 19.
There is also a chance that there is someone out there that will get released that the Cavs really like (a la Shaun Livingston), but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. In the meantime lets make this week fly past by discussing the merits of these final 7, and who the heck is gonna be a decent starting small forward.