The Cavs face some difficult decisions this coming offseason regarding their personnel. Since the season is not over yet, it is hard to tell who will be more valuable in the future, but it seems like this Cavs team has a chemistry that should not be tampered with. GM David Griffin should be careful about making another move, as it could ruin the greatness that this current Cavs team has in store for them. Although the Cavs will go way over the salary cap to keep most of their main free agents this summer, owner Dan Gilbert has made it publicly known that he is willing to pay the luxury tax to keep his team at the top of the NBA. Let’s hope this is true, as the Cavs have a lot of free agents for this coming summer.
Here are the Cavs’ nine upcoming free agents and what will most likely happen, starting with number nine:
9. Shawn Marion, Unrestricted Free Agent
Shawn Marion has been a great addition to this Cavs team due to his versatility guarding both guards and forwards. Back in December, Marion made it known that this season would be his last. Some players have declared retirement and then returned, but it remains seen if Marion will do the same.
Marion will retire at the end of the 2014-2015 season.
Click “Next” to see who the number eight free agent the Cavaliers have to work a deal with this summer!
8. James Jones, Unrestricted Free Agent
James Jones started the season out of the rotation, but began to make an impact following the two trades in January. He is a bit undersized at times on the court, standing at 6’8”, but can hold his own against guards and forwards alike. He is also an above average 3 point shooter, which could help his case. Despite this, and Jones’ connection with LBJ and Miller, the Cavs can probably find a younger player with the same ability as Jones, all for a lower price.
Look for the Cavs to possibly resign Jones to a one year veteran’s minimum contract if they cannot find a better role player for the similar price (due to Jones’ familiarity with the team).
Click “Next” to see who the number seven free agent the Cavaliers have to work a deal with this summer!
7. Mike Miller, Player Option
Mike Miller, the journeyman, followed LeBron to Cleveland following a pit-stop in Memphis. In his one year with the Grizzlies, Miller played injury-free and efficient. Many people questioned his decision to join the Cavs because he could have commanded much more from a different team with more salary space. Money was not an issue for Miller, who was waived with the Amnesty Provision from the Heat. As a result, the Heat had to pay him the rest of his 5 year, $25 million contract he signed back in 2010.
Miller started the season averaging around 20 minutes a game, but has fallen out of the rotation since then. James Jones and Shump took his minutes, as they are similarly efficient shooters but are not a defensive liability as Miller is. Also, it can’t be forgotten that Miller is already 35, and his age is starting to catch up to him. While Miller signed his contract last spring, he asked for a two year contract, hoping to finish his career in Cleveland. Therefore, if Miller decides to retire, then his salary will be taken off the payroll. If Miller feels healthy enough to play another season, he’ll opt in, knowing that he won’t be in a better situation anywhere else.
Look for Miller to opt into his player option for the 2015-2016 season.
Click “Next” to see who the number six free agent the Cavaliers have to work a deal with this summer!
6. Tristan Thompson, Restricted Free Agent
When the King made his decision to come back to Cleveland, Tristan Thompson had to be ecstatic. Not only are they workout buddies, training together in the offseason, but they are also represented by the same agency: Klutch Sports (Agent Rich Paul, LBJ’s high school friend). But, Coach Blatt decided to start traditional center Anderson Varejao instead, and the Cavs traded Wiggins for Kevin Love, moves which moved Thompson to the bench. Despite Varejao’s season-ending injury, Thompson continues to come off the bench, averaging a career-high 10.4 points per game while also putting up 8.1 rebounds and 0.5 assists per game. Double T has crazy chemistry with some of the guys, especially LeBron and Matthew Dellavedova, so the Cavs most likely won’t let him walk.
Although it will not be proven, the connection between LeBron James, Tristan Thompson, and their agent is obvious. Rich Paul rejected the Cavs offer sheet back in October because he knows that he can get more money for his client, Double T. The Cavs will most likely cave and give Thompson a larger contract-sort of as a reward to Rich Paul, since he convinced James to return to Cleveland. Will he be overpaid? Probably. Another notable big man, Kenneth Faried, resigned for just 4 years, $50 million, despite performing better than Thompson.
The Cavs will really have to pull out the checkbook for Tristan Thompson- Double T and his agents turned down a 4 year-$52 million deal back in October before the re-signing deadline. And if another were to sign Double T to an offer sheet, the Cavs would match it in no time.
Look for the Cavs to re-sign Thompson for around $15 mil a year at 4 years, $60 million.
Click “Next” to see who the number five and four free agent the Cavaliers have to work a deal with this summer!
5. Iman Shumpert, Restricted Free Agent
4. J.R. Smith, Player Option
When the Cavs made the early January trade to net J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert, they knew that they would be getting two guards with very different playing styles. On one hand, they got J.R.: an offensive minded veteran player who is never afraid to shoot the ball. On the other hand, Shump: A defensive minded youngin’ who had begun to make a name for himself as a 3 and D player. From the first game they played in Cavs uniforms, it was apparent that they really liked their situation. J.R. slid into the starting SG spot and has played very well with the other starters, averaging 12 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 2.9 assists per game. Everyone has also seen his vast improvement in defense: he stays with his opponent and he doesn’t get caught off guard. Shumpert has averaged 7.9 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 2.2 assists this season off the bench. Shump is the kind of player who can play with anyone, which is why he and Double T are usually the first two guys off the bench.
J.R. and Shump are often mentioned as the supporting factor in the Cavs turning their season around. Prior to the trade, the Cavs were sitting in 6th place in the East. Since the trade, the Cavs have jumped up to the 2nd seed, and have been been destroying opponents day in and day out. J.R. has been put in his ideal position and team, and it seems that he will want to stay. He can either opt into his player option, or decline it and work out a new contract with the Cavs. The Cavs might prefer the latter, since they could offer a portion of his salary in the form of a signing bonus as to create some more money to use to sign other free agents. Shump will most likely stay, although he will be over-paid. Elite defenders like Shump are hard to come by today in the NBA, and the Cavs will not want to let him go. They will match any offer sheet he signs.
Look for J.R. to opt into his player option for $6,399,750 and then re-sign with the Cavs after next season.
Or, Look for J.R. to opt out of his player option and re-sign with the Cavs for somewhere around 4 years, $28 million.
Look for the Cavs to re-sign Shump for somewhere around 4 years, $20 million, but the figure could go up if he signs an offer sheet that the Cavs will have to match.
Click “Next” to see who the number three free agent the Cavaliers have to work a deal with this summer!
3. Timofey Mozgov, Team Option
To some, Mozgov’s arrival to the Cavs was the season-saving trade. The Cavs paid a hefty price for the big (2 first round picks), but it was necessary in order to make this team a true contender. Mozgov had been the defensive anchor that the Cavs were looking for after Varejao’s injury. The chemistry that Mozgov developed with his teammates is unbelievable considering that he was put in the starting lineup for his first game as a Cavalier. Since then, Mozgov, along with J.R. and Shump, have helped this ok Cavs team turn into a title contender.
Mozgov is only 28, so he is definitely looking to sign at least one more big contract. It is all but certain that the Cavs will accept the option for Mozgov, so that he has a smaller cap number for next year. The year after, though, Mozgov will probably look to resign with the Cavs. Keep in mind, the Cavs signed Varejao to a 3 year, $30 million extension at the beginning of this season. Mozgov will command more than that, seeing that he is more talented and younger than Varejao.
Look for the Cavs to accept the team option on Mozgov, and wait until next off-season to resign him to a longer, larger contract, somewhere around 3 years, $40 million.
Click “Next” to see who the number two free agent the Cavaliers have to work a deal with this summer!
2. LeBron James, Player Option
LeBron was very smart about free agency last summer. He signed a two year contract, which gives him flexibility to sign a new contract when the new TV deal comes into play. Additionally, the second year of his contract is a player option, which really gives him all the power. It acts as a bail-out option for LBJ, although he has stated multiple times that he will not use it to leave the Cavs.
Although LBJ started the season with some issues, LBJ returned from his injury as a new man, regaining his MVP form from previous years. His numbers are down a bit, but his leadership and control of the game doesn’t go unseen on the court. LeBron has quietly led this young team up the standings to 2nd place in the East. Since the Cavs are his home-town team, it doesn’t seem as if he will leave. His newfound chemistry and relationship with Kyrie has also solidified his desire to stay, as he really enjoys mentoring Kyrie into a star player. It really looks as if LBJ will play out his career in Cleveland, and us Clevelanders are very lucky to witness the near-prime of his career.
LeBron could opt out of his contract after this season so that he can get paid an additional $2 million next season. The following year, when the new TV deal is announced, LeBron could sign a contract for up to $35+ million a year, which he will most likely do. It just does not seem likely that LeBron will opt in.
Look for LeBron to opt out and sign a one-year max contract around $24 million, so that he will once again be a free agent in time for the TV deal ($35+ million a year).
Click “Next” to see who the number one free agent the Cavaliers have to work a deal with this summer!
1. Kevin Love, Player Option
Pretty much everyone has seen Kevin Love struggle this season, his first with the Cavaliers. A majority of the credit for the Cavs success has gone to LBJ, Kyrie, and the new additions (J.R., Shump, Mozgov), while Love is often viewed as the weak link on the team. He often gets beat in the post, and gets attention for supposedly not giving his all while on defense. Despite all of this, his impact is overseen. He is a great shooter, and can knock down 3’s better than many guards. Also, he is still the rebounding beast from those years in Minnesota where he was a 20-10 machine. Love admits that he is still working on chemistry with LBJ, but its easy for anyone to play with LeBron.
There have been quite a few rumors about Love leaving Cleveland after this season. Love denies all of these reports, and has said quite a few times that he will re-sign with the Cavs in the off season. Despite his comments, there is still a possibility that he could leave for a team like the LA Lakers, his home team. Love could either opt in and give the Cavs another year to work everything out, re-sign with the Cavs, or sign with another team. An advantage to the Cavs is that they are the only team that can give him a five-year contract (others max at four years).
Look for Love to either opt in or re-sign with the Cavs, after ‘testing’ free agency. Pretty much a mirror image to Chris Bosh from last summer. If he re-signs, look for Love to sign a max contract around five years, $120 million.