The Cleveland Cavaliers are the central figure in the NBA right now, the NBA Off-Season. The Cavs have the #1 overall pick, a bunch of interesting young pieces on their roster, a lot of expiring or optional money contracts and a ton of salary cap space. Right now the focus is on who the Cavs might select with the #1 pick: Jabari Parker, Joel Embiid or Andrew Wiggins. Unlike last year, there is a clear group of top players separated at the top. Besides a trade there is almost a guarantee that one of those 3 will be on the Cavs roster next season. Recently we covered a way for the Cavs to draft both Wiggins and Embiid, click here to read that article.
With their trade assets (both young talented players and valuable contracts) as well as their salary cap space the Cavs can also add 2 more starting level quality players to their roster. There may be a number of players available through trades including Roy Hibbert, Kevin Love and Rudy Gay as well as lower level players who teams may want to move on from. In free agency a number of big name players including LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade and many others could all be available.
For the Cavaliers needless to say this could be a big summer. It is one that I am personally excited for and have run a number of “perfect” scenarios through my head, the Wiggins/Embiid draft combo is one of those. So throughout this upcoming month I will start to share some of the reasonable ideas that intrigue me. (Spoiler Alert: None will include acquiring Melo.)
#1 Pick – Andrew Wiggins
I could be persuaded that Embiid is a once and a lifetime big man that can change the game on the defensive end and develop a solid offensive game. I could also be persuaded that passing on Jonas Valaciunas, Andre Drummond, Nerlens Noel and Embiid in 4 straight drafts would be a terrible idea. Yet for this first perfect scenario Wiggins is the guy. He can be a solid 2 way player, fill the need at the 3 spot that hasn’t been filled since James and develop into a superstar player offensively with his physical gifts that are off the charts. Adding Wiggins at the 3 solves the wing defense issue as he and Dion Waiters, who has the tools to be a solid defender, should be an above average pair. Wiggins will start from Day 1 at small forward and develop with Kyrie Irving and Waiters into the best 1 thru 3 in the league within 2 to 3 years.
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Trade for Larry Sanders
If you have read FoS for long you will know that Sanders is this editors’ favorite. There are a couple reasons for that: 1) He is a rim protector that is proven in the league, 2) His off the court issues will make his trade value much less, 3) His injuries have been more fluke then possibly long term (I’m thinking of you Embiid’s Back) and 4) He is an amazing athlete which has been missing from the Cavs for years. With Wiggins and Sanders as all world defenders it takes some pressure off Irving and whoever is playing the 4 spot. Sanders is a great alley oop partner and can run the floor with the best of them. On the roll after a pick he can attack the basket. He doesn’t have an interior game to speak of but we aren’t done with our perfect scenario that will help balance the team and fit. Sanders fits a huge need for the Cavaliers in the center. The Bucks would probably draft Embiid in this scenario leaving Sanders up for grabs. The Cavs have the contracts to trade for him and add in a draft pick or could give the Bucks the starting point guard they are missing in Jarrett Jack as well as a future pick. Either way the Cavs move a pick and bench pieces to get their starting center and the Bucks get future assets and out from Sanders contract and impact on Embiid.
The Cavs sign a stretch Power Forward
With the drafting of Wiggins and the trading for Sanders the Cavs will still have a good amount of cap space. Sanders would be moved for similar contract values therefore only cutting 1 or 2 million into the Cavs space. The Cavs then have the money to go out and sign a star player to fill their last starting spot need, the power forward spot. With Wiggins needing to develop his offensive game and Sanders a stud defender with no range, a 4 man who can shoot and spread the floor is needed. In that the Cavs get creative and sign…. LEBRON JAMES. Yes I know its unlikely this year, but more then likely next year if the team develops, but what a perfect situation for James. The Cavs don’t give up much for Sanders to anchor the defense, which James knows is important, and add the “next LeBron” in Wiggins. The Cavs still will have great depth on the bench, something James has seen as important as he ages, with a lot of youth that he can impact. David Griffin is a fan of spacing and stretch 4s which James could easily fill. With very few tough, strong power forwards in the league LeBron wouldn’t be subject to much extra pounding at the 4 spot. His 2 point shooting has gone up greatly and his ability to play the Point-Forward spot is well known.
The Cavs would then have an amazingly athletic lineup with a great deep bench. Irving, Waiters, Wiggins and James can all handle the ball and drive to the basket. Irving and Waiters have developed their shooting touch to be great knock down shooters and Wiggins could start out as an above average 3 and D guy while James is directing traffic on defense. James could also stay fresh allowing the other 3 to run the offense with him moving around the 3 point line. Sanders is there to rebound, take advantage of all the attention to the other 4 on offense and to play great defense, a role he was meant for. On defense very few teams would beat the Cavs back down the floor and with their length at the 3, 4 and 5 the Cavs can help and recover, aka gamble, a lot on defense without getting burnt.
The bench would still have Matthew Dellavedova, Sergey Karasev, Tristan Thompson, Anthony Bennett, Anderson Varejao and Tyler Zeller. One of the big men could be moved in the Sanders deal, or be dealt to add a little more backcourt depth. The Cavs could look to retain free agent C.J. Miles and would be a destination spot for veterans looking to make a run at a title. A Mike Miller, Shane Battier, Ray Allen, Rashard Lewis type would be interested in what was built in Cleveland. Add one or 2 backcourt players, or keep Jack, and the roster is well balanced and deep.
What do you think of this “perfect” scenario? If you don’t like this one, don’t worry I have others.