For the Cavs, this summer is all about LeBron James. Whatever he decides to do — be it opt-out and re-sign for five years, sign a shorter deal or head to another city for a second time — Cleveland’s offseason doesn’t really start until he makes his decision and it’s hard to have any clarity on what’s to come until that decision is made.
What can your team do in free agency that would make you over the moon happy?
Obviously, keeping LeBron would be great. For all of the drama and stress that comes from James playing for the Cavs, it’s worth it — watching a team playing for titles is much more interesting and fun than watching a team that can’t get inbound the ball correctly and loses a lot with ill-fitting lottery pieces not quite meshing.
But keeping LeBron really isn’t up to the Cavs — they are 100 percent at his mercy. So, if he stays, what they do to help him win right now will define the offseason. If he leaves, having a clear direction and sticking to a vision is the best thing for the franchise. With the Cavs having to send a top-10 protected first round pick to the Hawks in 2019 or 2020, there is clear incentive to bottom out now and keep that pick starting this summer.
Signing Larry Nance Jr. — who is now extension eligible — to a reasonable deal this summer would be a good thing too, regardless of what happens with LeBron.
What might they do that makes you super mad online?
If LeBron stays, and they don’t make some kind of trade and/or use the assets they have to help him, it’ll feel like a waste. The team he dragged to the Finals last year is clearly not good enough, so it’s on Koby Altman to make improvements now.
If LeBron leaves, playing the middle ground and trying to make the playoffs next year is hard to get behind. With little cap space, and with no other superstar born in Northeast Ohio available, there is no realistic way to replace LeBron. Spending to spend, and maybe being the No. 8 seed and then losing their pick next season, is not the optimal way to move on from the greatest player who will ever wear a Cleveland jersey.
Also, overpaying and bidding against themselves for Rodney Hood would be a bad look for the Cavs. He’s a restricted free agent in a summer with little money available — Cleveland has leverage.
How likely is it that you are gonna be happy or sad?
Altman and Dan Gilbert have something to prove this summer, regardless of what LeBron does. There isn’t a ton of faith in the front office right now, but maybe that’ll inspire confidence in their actions moving forward.
As for LeBron, reading the Twitter tea lives right now indicates that he’s headed to Los Angeles. If that happens, there is no avoiding a sad summer. No number of Cedi Osman and Collin Sexton highlights at summer league can make that better.