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Cavaliers' Mailbag! NBA Trade Rumors, Free Agency Speculation, and Draft Conjecture

Some great Cavaliers' fans sent me some questions about the what the offseason could hold for the Cavs. I have taken it upon myself to answer some of these questions.

Streeter Lecka

The Cavaliers have literally thousands of different scenarios that they could go through, and what the possibilities of what this team could look like in the fall are literally endless. With that seemingly countless array of plausible iterations that this squad could have at the beginning of the 2013-14 season, Cavs' fans obviously have some questions about the beginning of the offseason. What are the goals of the Cavs? What are their plans? Can they finally make the playoffs after a three year absence?

Let's dive right in.

-@Sam_Vecenie Is Kevin Love availa-- I mean what do you see as the most realistic scenario for our 2nd rounders? Trade? Euro stashes? -- @pelliott87

David probably would have insta-banned you from this site had you finished that first thought.

This is something I actually wanted to write about in length this week, but then life happened and I moved to Denver over the course of three days.

I see the Cavs having basically three options with these picks. Seeing as how they will not be going into camp with four rookies, the first one is obviously using them in a trade to possibly move up in the draft to get someone they really like at around the 13th-16th picks. I'd be okay with this. Another possibility is packaging these two picks together and moving up into the 24-28 range. I think that may be the most preferable route in my opinion, that way the Cavs can take advantage of the tremendous depth this draft provides at the end of the first round and into mid-second round.

I see these two selections as interconnected with the 19th pick. There will probably only be two drafted rookies on the Cavs next season, with Canton being an option for the other rookies. Therefore, if they stash with the 19th pick -- and really, the only traditional stash candidate that isn't coming over in 2013 is seemingly Giannis Antetokounmpo -- they could go with a couple NCAA players in the second round and see what happens, and vice versa. Since I think they'll probably just take the guy they definitely want with the 19th pick, I see these as probably a stash pick or as picks for Canton. My favorite stash candidates are Lucas "Bebe" Nogueira and Livio Jean-Charles. You guys know about Nogueira from thigns that David has written, but Jean-Charles is a little bit unknown. He has basically the same measurements as Otto Porter, and was the MVP of the Hoop Summit scoring 27 points and gathering 13 rebounds. It might be worth taking a second round flier and trying to make lightning strike with him.

The second option that I like is taking a backup point guard here. If they're able to move up into the end of the first round, they'll basically have their choice of a collection of future backup point guards that I like, including Myck Kabongo, Pierre Jackson, Peyton Siva, Lorenzo Brown, Ray McCallum and Isaiah Canaan, among others. I think my favorite of this group might be Siva (he's all kinds of athletic, the same size as Trey Burke, and is a defensive nightmare for opposing point guards), but they're all so close that it's going to be a crapshoot which one of these guys blossoms into a good backup and which falls out of the NBA in two years. The Cavs could take the one they think is the best, and then develop a solid backup point guard behind Kyrie Irving.

-@Sam_Vecenie Who are you looking at to be complementary role players for the Cavs next season? Either as free agents or non-lottery picks. -- @udjrosen

Well Jacob, I do think they're going to sign a small forward of some sort. I've gone over that in-depth here. They're going to bring in some sort of veteran at that position who will act as a role player, hopefully shooting threes and playing solid defensive basketball.

But other than that, I think we're basically going to see a lot of the same role players on the Cavs that we saw last year. If Anderson Varejao is able to come back healthy and play at the high level he did last year, I see Tristan Thompson sliding into a type of "super role player" piece, who can give the Cavs something like 14 points and 11 rebounds a night. C.J. Miles will probably continue to gun threes from above the break and hopefully play stronger off-ball defense under Mike Brown. Maybe with a reduction in minutes, Alonzo Gee is able to become a slightly more efficient player that can slide in nicely as a role player. Depending on if Shaun Livingston decides to re-sign (something I'm not opposed to), the point guard position is one spot where we could see some turnover, but I'm not opposed to letting one of the potential rookies mentioned above take the reins of the second offense along with Dion Waiters so we can see what they have.

-@Sam_Vecenie @FearTheSword what do you expect the minute distribution to be for the frontcourt once Noel is healthy -- @acsgators

That's a pretty hot topic right now, given that it looks like the Cavs will probably have a log jam there beginning in January when Nerlens Noel returns from injury (given that he looks like the number one pick). So there are 96 minutes to go around in the front court. Thompson will see anywhere from 30-35 minutes a night, and I think that's the safest bet on the board. If Varejao is healthy, I think we can expect him to play about 26-30 minutes per game, a near 10 minute reduction from what he was seeing last year.

So that leaves us with about 30-35 minutes to try to divvy up if he's healthy. Noel will probably be brought along slowly, only seeing something like 15 minutes per night for the month that he plays, with that hopefully increasing as he gets more comfortable with the NBA and gets more confident with his knee. So that leaves us with 15-20 minutes and Tyler Zeller still there. Given that we can't exactly count on Varejao's health, a veteran signing seems to be a great idea. Giving a vet 15-20 minutes would be awesome, and I think Zeller becomes the odd man out if that occurs and Varejao stays healthy for a full season. Speaking of this actually...

- @Sam_Vecenie mailbag ? .. Who would you like to see at backup PF assuming Walton and Speights are gone? free agency/trade whatever. -- @davidzavac

So that becomes an interesting question. Marreese Speights picking up his option looks to be preferable for the Cavs right now. I actually like his fit with Noel in theory. He's a strong guy that rebounds effectively and can possibly guard bigger, stronger centers while Noel can terrorize the offense around the rim by rotating and blocking shots.

If I was Speights' agent though, I'd tell him to opt out. I just don't see how he doesn't get at least $4 million per year for 3 years, and that's better than getting $4.5 million for one year. So that leaves us to a pretty grim free agency market. Brandan Wright is a really good player, but I don't like the idea of adding him to an already-skinny front court. Elton Brand and Chris Kaman exist, but I doubt they would come here for one season. Carl Landry is a pretty fantastic option, but I think he's going to try to cash in for multiple years after his season with the Warriors. Tiago Splitter is going to get overpaid. Zaza Pachulia and Josh McRoberts use oxygen and release carbon dioxide on the floor, at least.

I think I'd just be happy with Speights opting in for a season, preserving the 2014 offseason cap space, and letting him be a physical banger in the paint.

-@Sam_Vecenie Who is the preferred free agent pickup, Dorell Weight or Chase Budinger? -- @NZBasketball

Budinger is, in my opinion, the clearly superior player with stronger upside. He is a better defender, a more versatile scorer, and three years younger. The only thing that Wright does better is shoot from distance.

As I mentioned in the piece I linked above about role players, I think Budinger is probably the most likely candidate to get overpaid this offseason of all of the small forwards. He's still relatively young, has a ton of athletic potential that he still hasn't realized (mostly because of injury), and has consistently put up strong per-36s for the past four years (about 15-16 points, 5-6 rebounds, and 2-3 assists). If he gets under $5 million per season for multiple years, it's going to come as a great surprise to me.

Wright is seemingly the better fit for the Cavs. He's an excellent shooter from distance (but a pretty awful one from everywhere else), a decent defender -- although sometimes lazy -- and he'll come cheaper and for a shorter term. I can see Wright signing a one year, $4-5 million deal with the Cavs in order to rehabilitate his stock after shooting under 40% from the field last season. I like his fit better, but he's certainly not perfect.

-@Sam_Vecenie So you don't like Thomas for 19? -- @Moesquare

This actually wasn't even a mailbag question, but I did want to address it because I've been pretty vehemently against it. The question is in reference to this rumor, which says that the Kings have offered point guard Isaiah Thomas for the 19th overall pick. This would be a pretty horrific trade on a multitude of levels. Let's begin.

1. Thomas is a pretty decent scorer (averaging 18.7 and 5.4 per-36 minutes), but he's 5'9" and doesn't play a lick of defense.

2. The depth of the point guard position in this draft, as I think I've now mentioned 7 times in this mailbag, is ridiculously strong. There are going to be three or four solid backup point guards selected from picks 25-45. I'd take them.

3. Thomas only has one year left, which means that we'd be giving up possibly four years of control of a potential role player for one. You absolutely cannot move the 19th overall pick for a backup point guard with one year of control. That's just silly.

So, yeah. Awful, awful idea.

-@Sam_Vecenie I'm losing faith that the Cavs aren't going to bring in a significant player as each rumor getting denied, any optimism? -- @JZelch 17

At some point in the next two years, it's going to happen. With word that the salary cap is going to be about $1.5 million less than anticipated, a lot of teams are going to be closer to the luxury tax than expected. This only plays into the Cavs' favor. As the luxury tax becomes more prohibitive, teams are going to have to start offloading contracts to franchises under the salary cap. That's why preserving their cap space going into the 2014 offseason is so essential for the Cavaliers.

So yeah, I definitely have some optimism on this. I think you're just going to have to be a little patient.


The great mailbag experiment has ended. How did you think this was? Is it something you'd be interested in me doing more regularly? Also, if I do this again, I'd love some funny questions to answer too as opposed to keeping this as a totally serious mailbag. As always feel free to tweet at me @Sam_Vecenie and I'm always willing to answer back.