Shawn Marion wants to win a championship. The Cavs give the veteran a great chance to reach that goal. Marion also wants to get paid, but Cleveland can only offer the veteran minimum of $1.4 million.
Yet, Marion will reportedly sign, which means the Cavs come up lucky–again–as it looks like catching lightning in a bottle is easier than sinking a layup at Cleveland Clinic Courts these days.
Go back to the beginning of summer. The franchise had a 1.7 percent chance of winning the NBA Draft lottery and BAM: The Cavs’ ping-pong ball flies to the top. It’s at this point ESPN writer Brian Windhorst starts writing Cleveland could actually sign James.
James goes on to lose the NBA Finals and looks defenseless as his Heat get crushed by the Spurs. It’s become clear Dwyane Wade is a shell of the player he once was, and Chris Bosh doesn’t offer enough to help make up the ground. The Heat’s run ends with two titles. With no pressure to chase NBA history and a fourth-straight title, LeBron opts out of his Heat contract.
By early June, it’s obvious Kevin Love won’t be playing in Minnesota next year. The Cavs want to make the Uncle Drew Pepsi commercials a reality. But Love doesn’t want to play in Cleveland. Even with Irving, the Cavs are inexperienced and Love is rumored to be heading to the west coast.
In the weeks prior to the draft, all indications are that the Cavs are serious about drafting Joel Embiid with the No. 1 pick, despite the back problems he suffered from in college. But shortly before draft night, Embiid comes up with a fracture in his foot and looks more fragile than Humpty Dumpty. Andrew Wiggins, a player with limitless offensive potential, and NBA-ready defensive skills, becomes the first pick.
About a week later, LeBron to Cleveland rumors erupt. Dan Gilbert’s plane is more heavily tracked than NORAD following Santa on Christmas Eve. We later find out Gilbert did go to south Florida to make amends with James for his 2010 Decision night rant. Later in the week, James announces his return to Cleveland.
And what do you know? Love’s had a change of heart. He can play with Irving, AND the greatest player on the planet. The 6-10 forward wants to be a Cav now. The deal will probably end up costing Wiggins, but Cleveland now has a ‘Big 3′ of James, Irving and Love in place and are favorites to come out of the East.
But as good as the Cavs’ roster looks, defense is a problem. The squad also has nobody to back up James, who logged the most minutes in every seasons starting with the 2010-11 campaign. Marion is attractive and has a connection to Griffin that goes back to their days with the Suns. Still, Marion doesn’t want to settle for the veteran minimum.
Unfortunately, Paul George broke his leg competing for Team USA. The Pacers go from a team with title hopes, to probably picking in the lottery. Larry Bird and company get a 5.3 million injury exception, but don’t want to pay Marion that kind of money because it puts them into the luxury tax. For a team that could be lottery bound, it’s not a feasible move. The Pacers offer Marion $1.7 million, but the Cavs offer, of $300,000 less, all of a sudden looks more attractive.
The Cavs coldcocked the odds this summer, and it started by winning the lottery. This franchise is destined to win an NBA title sometime in the near future–becasue if it doesn’t, owner Dan Gilbert might actually have a better chance of catching lightning in a bottle than hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy.