As we noted earlier this morning in our piece on Tyronn Lue, the LeBron James notes are crazy right now. An artist, a personal trainer, random friends, etc all say James is coming back to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Yet are any of them worth getting our hopes up for? Since it is all flying around I will reiterate what my source, I don’t have (m)any, said a week or so ago: His wife wants him to return but he wasn’t so sure. Take that for what it is.
There are a few things that we do now about the James free agent decision: He wants to make the max money and he wants to join a roster that has championship possibilities. Last night this tweet, which was in a line of tweets about James, grabbed attention:
Same exec feels it's a Miami-Cleveland battle & LeBron is waiting for a team to make a splash.
— Probasketballdraft (@Probballdraft) July 5, 2014
So what is a splash? Easy to say that getting Kyrie Irving extended is a huge move. Getting the #1 pick and bringing in “Shooting Guard” Andrew Wiggins is a splash. Still having Dion Waiters, Tristan Thompson, Anthony Bennett, Tyler Zeller and Sergey Karasev, all first round picks, has to be a little intriguing for James as well. Yet how can the Cavs make a splash that could solidify his return to Cleveland? Say it with me “KEVIN LOVE”
So lets take a look at a few different moves that could help the Cavs get Love:
Sign and Trade Spencer Hawes to the LA Clippers.
Hawes and the Clippers have already come to an agreement on a contract but the Clippers would like to do a sign and trade, as it would allow them to make another move. Jamal Crawford, with his partially guaranteed for only$1.5 million dollar contract, Reggie Bullock and/or draft pick C.J. Wilcox would be an appropriate trade for Hawes. The Cavs get a young player or two as well as a contract that can be used to cut salary cap space for themselves or the Timberwolves.
Sign and Trade Luol Deng to the Atlanta Hawks
The Hawks have cap space but may not have enough to sign Deng to the contract he wants. That would require getting rid of some salary to make a sign and trade happen with the Cavaliers. Again the Cavs can use this to their advantage to get young talent and/or draft picks. The Hawks could send Dennis Schroeder and John Jenkins along with a 2nd round pick to the Cavs for the sign and traded Deng. Schroeder, Jenkins and the pick could be useful for the Cavs or can be moved on to the T’Wolves in a trade for Love.
Trade Jarrett Jack to the Milwaukee Bucks
Jack is not a player that fans seem interested in keeping around. Jason Kidd, the new coach of the Bucks, was interested in getting him with the Nets. The Bucks are in a need of a point guard and seem like they want to try to compete quickly. Adding Jack to the backcourt helps the scoring load on a team very limited outside of rookie Jabari Parker. A draft pick and Khris Middleton may be enough to get Jack.
Trade for Kevin Love
The Cavs do not have to make any of the above trades to make a deal for Love but could decide to go in that direction to get more youth that possibly the T’Wolves might want while also keeping a good amount of youth on their roster to build for the long term. The Wolves have the choice of a number of young players out of the group of Bullock, Wilcox, Schroeder, Jenkins, Middleton, Waiters, Thompson, Bennett, Karasev and Zeller. The Cavs would likely move 3 or 4 of those players of the Wolves liking. The Cavs can also offer up the contracts of Crawford and Anderson Varejao to give the the Wolves more cap space. The Cavs also have a number of draft picks that would be added to the trade. Putting all of that together gives us this trade:
Cavs Receive: Kevin Love and Kevin Martin
T’Wolves Receive: Dion Waiters, Dennis Schroeder, Khris Middleton, Tristan Thompson, contracts of Jamal Crawford, Scotty Hopson and Anderson Varejao (all cut to save a ton of money) and 3 first round draft picks (Best of MIA/MEM picks and Cavs pick in ’15 plus Cavs ’17 pick) and 2 seconds.
For the Wolves they build around Ricky Rubio and Dion Waiters backcourt with Thompson helping up front. Schroeder along with Zach LaVine and Glenn Robinson III give the Wolves a group of young players to develop over time. The 3 first round picks, especially the better of the Heat/Grizzlies pick, will give the Wolves a ton of resources to rebuild. If they were not able to make the playoffs with Love, adding Klay Thompson is not going to get them there either. Instead they take a bevvy of youth and picks, along with cap relief, from the Cavs.
For the Cavs, depending on which of the other trades they make, they add Love and Martin’s contracts but still have enough youth that they can move somewhere in a trade to get the cap space they need for James. Once Love is traded for James sees Irving, Wiggins and Love as the best case for a championship. The Cavs would have a good mix of young and veterans. Defense and offense. Athleticism and skill. Yet the Cavs would still be able to keep some youth to build around and take some pressure off of the Core 4. Love won’t sign an extension, makes too much financial sense just to wait until the off-season, but then re-signs with the Cavs meaning the team has the Core 4 signed for at least the next 5 years.
Obviously a lot of moving parts but how do you feel about these moves?