Cleveland’s most intriguing options in free agency
The confetti has settled, the LeBron poster stays, and the roar of Cleveland has subsided, leaving only a mild hum and it’s time now to retool in preparation for the championship defence. Cleveland will have challengers, the throne is rarely held so effortlessly anyways. As Golden State attempts to improve from near perfection to the unimaginable with whispers of Kevin Durant, Dirk Nowitzki or Nic Batum, The Spurs choose age over beauty in courting Pau Gasol and the Thunder desperately attempting to hang onto Kevin Durant through a series of upgrades, Cleveland too will be scouring the market in an attempt to upgrade it’s already impressive arsenal. It will be difficult, Cleveland has an absolutely absurd payroll to account for, but through shrewd use of Mid-Level Exceptions, Tax Payer Exceptions, and Analytics based trades, the beast of the East might just grow even greater
Picks and payroll Exceptions – you name it, Cleveland has it. Among their resources include cash, players and some determination to improve. Cleveland might not be in line for the top free agents, but the options they have might just be able to swing a bargain with what they have. A yearly Taxpayer Mid-Level Exception gives them about Three Million procure a ring-chasing Free Agent. More importantly, however, are Cleveland’s three Trade Exceptions. Two expiring $2.2 and $10.5 Million Exceptions from Mike Miller and Brendan Haywood respectively could be in play, but most likely it would be Anderson Varejao’s $9.6 Million that will be used to pick up a straggler trade from a rebuilding team. Speaking of trades, Cleveland has a few options for trade. Kevin Love comes to mind, but that’s most likely just Bleacher Report Pundits attempting to milk every dollar out of his situation. More likely their options include international prospect Cedi Osman, D-Leaguers Quinn Cook and Sir’Dominic Pointer and newly drafted Point Guard Kay Felder. Lastly, the Cavaliers are not completely the Brooklyn Nets, they still hold a 2019 First Round pick, and several Second Rounders in 2018 and 2019 that can be used to sweeten a trade.
Ok, let’s get this out of the way. It is very, VERY unlikely Wade comes to Cleveland. Very. But in the scenario where his contract talks with the Heat are once again unsuccessful (which they are) and he talks to his best friend LeBron James (which he might) and believes that playing and winning will land himself as the second best shooting guard over Kobe with another chip or two (which is possible), just maybe the legendary shooting guard could take his talents to North East Ohio. But probably not.
E’Twaun Moore could be a massive free agency steal if anyone can take him from the Bulls. Young with plenty of room to grow Moore could thrive under the tutelage of Kyrie Irving and LeBron James, as well as other members of the Cavalier organization. Looking to get younger while still competing, Moore could give Cleveland the best of both worlds. Only two hurdles stand in the way of Moore’s signing. First, Cleveland won’t be the only person looking at Moore as a potential long-term solution, and a two year, three million contracts might not be the most appealing in the world. Secondly, Cleveland already has two shooting guards in JR Smith and Iman Shumpert. Taking Moore would likely mean not resigning J.R. and taking a gamble against a proven shooting guard.
If Cleveland simply wanted to win and decided to let J.R. go, Lee might just be the answer. A defensive oriented wing, Lee is a bit of a journeyman who has proven his value around the league. Perhaps slightly above the payroll, Cleveland is willing to offer, Lee requires a specific scenario for Cleveland to sign. That being said a win now the team could always use a battle-tested veteran, and Lee fits the bill perfectly.
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