Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Full Court Press 6.29.16: The Cavs and NBA Free Agency #Cavs #NBAFreeAgency

By Randy Groce, @ImissWiggins

NBA free agency begins this Friday July 1st at 12:00 Midnight. Teams and players are only allowed to negotiate deals, but players are not allowed to actually sign with a team until July 7th. A lot of assuming and mind changing can go on in six days, so as a fan, your best bet would be to actually wait until the players' name is signed on the dotted line before you allow yourself to get too excited (see DeAndre Jordan in 2015).

The defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers have seven free agents of their own this offseason, 5 unrestricted and 2 restricted. LeBron James and Richard Jefferson have pretty much stated that they will return. JR Smith just recently signed to Rich Paul's Klutch Sports Group. The last Cavalier player that was a free agent under them, Tristan Thompson, ended up getting exactly what he wanted and stayed in Cleveland. James Jones has a spot as long as he wants, which leaves Timofey Mozgov as the only unrestricted free agent that the Cavs will not try to re-sign.
Matthew Dellavedova and Jordan McRae are restricted free agents, but it has almost been decided that McRae's option for next year will be picked up. Delly will probably be the one that will be the most difficult for the Cavs to make a decision on. His offensive game has improved, and he does an excellent job leading the second unit. The problem with that is other teams see this and will absolutely offer more money for his services than the Cavs will want or be able to. This is the main reason the team was able to buy a draft pick and select a point guard. 

During the team's playoff run, almost everyone on the roster was helpful and involved. Once the team reached the Finals, the rotation was knocked down to only seven players. When you have LeBron James and Kyrie Irving that can work a few times, but it's not sustainable. The Cavs' bench needs to get younger. Jefferson is 36, Mo Williams is 33 (34 when the 2017 playoffs start), Jones is 35, and Channing Frye is 33, (34 when the 2017 playoffs start). Cavs' GM David Griffin has stated that the roster will not be blown up, nor should it, but personally I would like to see them let Jones and Jefferson walk. 

The Cavs have a $9.7 million dollar trade exception, so it's possible they can obtain a player using that. A perfect move would've been trading the exception to Memphis for Lance Stephenson and his $9.2 million dollar option for next year. Unfortunately on Monday, the Grizzlies decided to decline the option, making Stephenson a free agent.
Two players that I really want, Nicholas Batum and Jeremy Lin, will cost more than what the Cavs have to offer. The only way to get younger and improve would be to get a guy like Marvin Williams, Kent Bazemore, or Gerald Henderson. These players could be willing to sign for one or two years and take a pay cut to come and play for a title contender. Also, don't rule out former LeBron teammate from his time in Miami, Norris Cole. 

Boston Celtics GM Danny Ainge is the wild card.

Over the past year he has made it clear that he is trying to trade for a superstar. He was unable to make a move before last season's trade deadline and he was unable to make one on draft day last week. He's not going to give up, but he's going to have to sweeten the pot if he wants a team to give up one of their best players. GM's around the league have stated that since he's had so much success in getting over on the last couple of trades he's made, he's basically low balling every team he talks to. I believe if he's not able to pry Jimmy Butler out of Chicago, David Griffin will get a phone call pretty soon regarding Kevin Love. Despite Griffin's insistence that he's not willing to mess up the team's chemistry, he still would have to make a decision that makes sense. 

We're only a couple of days away, so expect to hear every rumor imaginable. I must admit that for the first time in my life, I couldn't care less what happens on July 1st or any day after that. The Cleveland Cavaliers are World Champs, I'll worry about this stuff in February around the trade deadline.

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