First of all, thank you for all of the awesome questions. There were a ton that I received via email, comments and twitter. I will try and answer as many as I can here, but if I missed out on them, feel free to re-ask them in the comments and I will get an opinion in. We will start with the trade deadline stuff, and then I got in a few other topics as well. I couldn't get to everything, because 2700 words is ridiculous enough. Here we go:
Who is a surprise star that might be available at the deadline or over the summer, a la James Harden or Deron Williams? - Jeff Nomina, from I Go Hard Now
The biggest "surprise" guy I could see coming on the market between now and next year's trade deadline would be Chris Bosh. Miami has this year, and next year with their Big Three, and probably can't afford to be in the luxury tax every single year. If they could get young assets for Bosh that wouldn't totally kill their chances a title in 2014, I could see them trying to prevent a total collapse should Bosh and LeBron James decide to move on in free agency. Also, young assets may even help in a last-ditch effort to keep James in town. Brian Windhorst has reported that he doesn't believe Bosh is that happy in Miami, which is another reason he could possibly get moved. Still, Miami would be hard pressed to break up an enormously successful trio. But isn't that exactly why people said Harden wouldn't get moved?
In terms of a surprise guy that the Cavaliers would get excited about, there is the perpetually disgruntled Kevin Love. I would be shocked if Minnesota really moved him, and the way that Tristan Thompson has developed while proving to be durable makes me wonder just how great of a deal it would be for the Cavs. Don't get me wrong, If you can move Tristan Thompson, Tyler Zeller, this year's 6th overall pick (or where ever we land) for Kevin Love, I think you have to do it. But Tristan is at least making it sort of interesting, and more worthwhile for Minnesota.
Where do you think we will end up picking? Could we possibly trade up to get Noel? - Kyrie from Downtown
I think we will be picking around 7, though it could easily be 2 or even 1. Everyone knows that trading up in basketball is infinitely harder than trading up in football. We do have an abundance of future picks we can give up should the front office really be excited about one player, but you need a partner to dance with. This seems to be a draft where, without a surefire star, teams may be more willing to look at need than they might be in other years. This could lead to some draft order movement. The short answer to both of your questions is that I don't know. Noel's injury might complicate things even more. Clevyxc asked what it would take to move from 8 to 3 in the draft, and I don't know. Accepting a bad contract, the Memphis future first, and our 8th might get it done.
What are your thoughts on Deshaun Thomas? He could fit a need for the Cavs. Also, the Cavs traded up to acquire Zeller in last year’s draft. Anyone stand out as a better prospect (and logical choice, given the team needs) that we should have targeted? - Boston Browns
I am a little more high on Thomas than I think most are. His defense has steadily improved over his time at Ohio State, and he has always been able to score. He is asked to create a lot of his own offense, which he probably wouldn't have to do in the NBA. If you are looking for someone who could hit open shots off the bench and create a little, you can do worse, I think. He isn't very athletic, and he can't play power forward, so it is hard to see him becoming even an average NBA defender, but if he plays smart and gets stronger I could see him being adequate on small forwards. If the Cavs end up with the Miami pick, and its around 28, I wouldn't be opposed to giving him a shot.
The second part of your question is kind of tough. Jeff Taylor and Andrew Nicholson were both taken after Zeller, and are probably having better seasons. Zeller has some ups and a lot of downs. I wouldn't say the Cavs made a mistake with Zeller, not by a long shot. But Taylor does look like a really solid 3 and D guy off the bench, or perhaps even a fringe starter at small forward. In short, the Zeller pick looks okay, though you could make a good case that Taylor will be pretty darn good.
Other Fun Stuff
What do you think of the coaching situation? I like Coach Scott, but some people want him out? - Sam from Alabama
I give Coach Scott a lot of credit for the most part. The last three years he has been given a pretty tough hand. The offense has made some pretty great strides over the course of the season, even with injuries and ridiculous youth. The defense has its moments but for the most part has been really terrible. It is pretty rare for young teams to be even average defensively. Mark Jackson has had his team playing at a high defensive level this season, but over the last couple weeks they seem to be coming down to earth. Basically, asking Scott to have this team performing at a higher level than they are would be unfair, in my opinion. And frankly, his relationship with Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson, and Dion Waiters makes his seat pretty safe.
What do you think about keeping Livingston as backup point guard permanently. Give the journeyman a home. - Aj94
I like him. I think at this point we all do. He is a fun story. He plays hard, has a chip on his shoulder, and seems to be a pretty smart dude. The revelation for me has been his mid-range game. When he gets in 10-16 feet, with his ability to just shoot over defenders, it's beautiful. He has some versatility and can sort of guard a few positions, though he has no strength or quickness. If he is the Cavs backup point guard next year I think I would be pretty excited about that.
What would the going rate be for Shaun Livingston and Wayne Ellington in free agency?- a bunch of people, essentially.
Ellington has a $3 million tender that the Cavaliers would hopefully extend an offer for, which would make him a restricted free agent. I would be comfortable paying him $10 million over 3 years, and let him have that third year as a $4 million player option. He is still young, but handles himself like a veteran, defends a little, can do more off the dribble than I expected, and spots up really well. He brings some good things to the table without taking too much off of it. He is a significant upgrade over Daniel Gibson. Livingston is harder to tell. We could probably just bring him back on a one year deal, close to the minimum. He is a journeyman just trying to stay in the league still. We like him, but we shouldn't be breaking the bank for him. And I don't think we will need to.
What are your thoughts on the LeBron free agency? Is it worth it to wait on him? What happens if he spurns us again? - Cleveland_Rocks
As far as the speculation of LeBron coming back, I tried to get my feelings on the subject out in this article. If he wants to come back, fine. I don't like the idea of the Cavaliers' destiny being tied to this guy. We did that once, and it didn't work out so well. Preserving cap space for 2014 might be the smart play, but I hope it doesn't keep the Cavs from being aggressive in the meantime. I understand that the purpose of this mailbag is largely to indulge in speculation, but I can't pretend to know what Cleveland will do if they save up money for LBJ and he decides to play in Los Angeles or somewhere else. There will in all likelihood be other free agents worth spending on. 2014 is actually probably the last season we will have cap space to offer a player a max because of the raise Kyrie and other young players get on a yearly basis. In the Summer of 2015, Kyrie's max deal will in all likelihood kick in. In short, the Cavaliers have this summer and next summer to invest in a max free agent or two to pair with Kyrie Irving. After that, trades will be the only way, though the new CBA has restrictions on sign and trades for teams over the cap. Chris Grant is on the clock.
This was fun guys. Probably do something like this again before the draft.