The Cleveland Cavaliers are coming off back-to-back 19-win seasons, as they haven’t had a win percentage over 30 percent since LeBron James left them to join the Lakers. With that, it’s safe to say the Cavs aren’t in the running for an NBA championship any time soon.
This offseason wasn’t one where they were poised to make a significant jump in the standings, but it could be vital to the future success of the team.
Let’s breakdown the Cavs’ offseason.
#1. Quiet Offseason
For a team that is looking to bolster their roster with young talent, the Cavs were relatively quiet this offseason. They did not go after any really big names and settled for some smaller rotational pieces.
The Cavs re-signed Matthew Dellavedova to a one-year deal worth $2.17 million, keeping their depth and defensive tenacity.
Did they need to sign another point guard? Not at all. In fact, this may have been at the bottom of Cleveland’s priority list. Collin Sexton, Darius Garland and Dante Exum should have been enough, but apparently the Cavs thought differently.
The signing didn’t really move the needle in either direction.
The Cavs also signed Damyean Dotson to a two-year contract, with a cap hit of $2 million per year. Dotson is coming off of a down season with the New York Knicks where he averaged 6.7 points and 1.9 rebounds per game.
Does adding Dotson help the Cavs in any way?
Nope, not really. All Dotson does is add depth to the wing position for the Cavs where they are young and inexperienced. He will likely be buried deep on the depth chart behind Isaac Okoro, Kevin Porter Jr, Cedi Osman and Collin Sexton. This move also doesn’t change anything for the Cavs.
The Cavaliers agreed to a training camp deal with Thon Maker as well. Maker was the 10th overall pick back in 2016, but he has not lived up to his potential as a professional.
Thon Maker is a career 4.7 PPG player and has never averaged more than 5 PPG in a season. Maker has failed to make an impact on the court in his brief four year career.
Regardless of his lack of success, Maker is young enough to turn things around in his career. This could be a sneaky good signing for the Wine and Gold.
Finally, Cleveland made a trade for veteran center Javale McGee, giving up Jordan Bell and Alfonzo Mckinnie in the process.
McGee adds length, athleticism and rim protection to the Cavs. This transaction, however, is a strange one. The Cavs still have Andre Drummond, Kevin Love and Larry Nance Jr as their bigs, so they didn’t really need to add another veteran.
McGee is a good player, but he does not really belong on a rebuilding team.
#2. Losing some key players
The Cavs supplemented their quiet offseason by losing a key piece to their roster, Tristan Thompson.
Thompson gave the Cavs defensive intensity, versatility and mobility at the center position. He was a key piece during the Cavs’ championship run and has been a constant for the team throughout their struggles and successes.
Losing him doesn’t hurt their long-term plans, but it will definitely hinder their short-term success.
#3. Drafting Well
The Cavaliers had the fifth overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft where they took Auburn wing Isaac Okoro.
Okoro should start immediately for the Cavs at the three, as he gives them athleticism and defense from the wing position. Okoro may have been a bit of a reach at pick five, but the Cavaliers get exactly who they want and add another piece to their lineup that they can build around.
The Cavs’ starting lineup becomes complete with Okoro. This will allow them to bring Kevin Porter Jr. and Cedi Osman off the bench where they can play against players closer to their skill level.
Okoro’s defense was a much-needed addition to a Cleveland team in a division with Khris Middleton, TJ Warren and Otto Porter Jr.
The Cavs did a nice job adding a building block to their rebuilding future.
Overall Grade: C-
Overall, the Cavs did not have a very significant offseason. Another year goes by that they stay irrelevant.
Drafting Isaac Okoro was a good move, but the Cavs could have probably traded down and still get him a few picks later.
Free agency did not bode well for the Cavaliers as well, losing a starter and adding no significant pieces to their roster.
Overall, I give the Cavs a C- grade.
If this was just free agency, the Cavs would have probably gotten an even worse grade. They did nothing to rebuild and improve their roster other than adding a solid wing player in the draft.
The Cavs stay irrelevant in 2021.