It shouldn’t be a surprise to anybody that the Cleveland Cavaliers were not a major player in the first two weeks of free agency. With a roster in place that has made three straight Finals, the cap space to be a player in the mad dash for free agents just isn’t a reality.
Now that the money is drying up around the league, we can begin to look at what free agents are left that can help the Cavs. These players aren’t the best available players, but they are players that can fit within the team’s system. Ideally they may even be able to help against the Warriors, although few options remain that are more effective than the existing players on the roster.
With that in mind, here are five remaining free agents that can help the Cavs:
The last time a former Cavs hero returned it resulted in a title, so why not repeat the process?
Speights doesn’t give the Cavs much on the defensive end. But he can play either at center or power forward and is a reliable rebounder and shooter. While his shooting isn’t as strong as Channing Frye, he is a better defender and rebounder. It isn’t a perfect fit, but it gives the Cavs another reliable center to help keep Tristan Thompson fresh.
Whitey is far from a sexy name. The 27-year-old center hasn’t found consistent minutes with the Utah Jazz, given their deep stable of bigs. Withey would give the Cavs a good defensive presence that can lighten the load for Tristan Thompson. Unlike Chris Andersen and Andrew Bogut, he is far less likely to crumble into dust on the court.
For his career, Whitey has averaged 11.5 points, nine rebounds, and 2.7 blocks per 36 minutes. He also has posted solid rim protection stats over the last few years, although they primarily came against second units.
He should be in the Cavs price range and could give the team a more traditional center off the bench.
Sefolosha won’t help the Cavs become younger and more athletic, but still can have a positive impact. His three point shooting has declined over the last three seasons, but can still make open shots at a respectable rate.
He should be available to the Cavs at the veteran’s minimum and can help address some of their defensive deficiencies. Given the make-up of the Warriors roster you truly can never have enough wings to help slow them down.
At 29, Henderson still has a lot of life in his legs. While he’s far from a strong shooter, he has shot 35.3 percent from three the last two season. Combine that with the ability to defend multiple wing positions and you have a fantastic fit for the team.
Should the team move Shumpert this summer, Henderson would give the team a far more reliable replacement. He was paid $9 million from the Sixers last season and, at his age, could still receive a decent payday. But if he wants to play with a contender, the Cavs make a lot of sense for him.
Luc Mbah a Moute
Mbah a Moute had possibly the best season of his career last year for the Clippers. He’s a 6’8” elite defender that had a career best year from behind the three point line at 39.1 percent. While the shooting is likely to come back down to Earth, he is the type of player that can change a game with his abilities on defense.
In minutes with the second unit, he could be an absolute terror. With all the shooters the Cavs have, it would be nice to add a reliable defensive presence. Even if his shooting fades, he brings something the Cavs sorely need and lacked last season.