The Cavaliers have added Mike Dunleavy and Chris Andersen, but are those two players really enough to combat the new-look Warriors or deeper Eastern foes like Indiana, New York and Boston? The Cavs are cash-strapped, so let’s look at some front court players they could give Cleveland a new force down low.
Budinger struggled last season with the Suns, but has actually proven to be a solid player throughout his career. Even in a down season, his player efficiency rating was 10.73 – almost a full point higher than Iman Shumpert’s, for what it’s worth. Budinger would provide depth behind LeBron James, and as a career 35% shooter, would give the Cavs another three-pt weapon.
Butler is a savvy veteran who could provide the Cavs with more leadership. He may not be able to stay healthy enough to make an impact however. A career 35% 3-pt shooter, Butler fits the bench mold the Cavs are looking for.
Another longtime veteran, Butler played for the Spurs last season, with a respectable 13.74 PER. He’s shot 36% from 3 for his career.
Cavs fans will remember this name. Hickson never quite lived up to his draft billing here. He’s never going to be a #1 or #2 scorer on a team(like he was drafted to be), but he’s an athletic power forward who can score. The Cavs currently have Channing Frye for that role but he’s almost exclusively a 3-pt shooter. Hickson works best in the post and mid-range. After putting up a 16.83 PER for Washington last season, Hickson would be a great addition to the team that drafted him.
Kaman was hampered by injuries last season, limiting him to just 16 games. He’s a 7-footer who shoots 42%(yes, 42)from 3-pt for his career. The Cavaliers could definitely use that.
Even at age 36, Prince is still a good defender on the wing. He did not play very well with the Timberwolves last season, but that may be due to the position he was in; playing for a super young team focuses on improving its young players. Prince has shot 37% from 3 and is an NBA champion.
Unlike most of the other players on this list, Robinson is a true big man, and also still very young. At just 25, he was taken 5th overall in 2012 draft and hasn’t lived up to his billing. He’s a physical player with a lot of athleticism and potential. He has the size and strength to dominate in the post against a small lineup(such as Golden State’s). Robinson has so much potential that he’s worth taking a flyer on for a team needing big men.
Seraphin is a similar player to Robinson, but without the high draft billing. He’s not a great defender, which may negate anything he could give a team offensively. He could help the Cavs, but Robinson would be a better target.
It’s a surprise to see Stephenson still available given his performance for Indiana a few years ago. Aside from that, he hasn’t really been good since. But his performance against LeBron James and the Miami Heat should not be forgotten. He would give the Cavs a big defensive boost off the bench and be the defensive enforcer that the Cavs need, along with Chris Andersen.
Josh Smith is not the same athletic marvel he used to be, but he’s still a decent player. He can play defense when he wants to, and would give the Cavs a nice depth piece off the bench capable of playing the three or the four.
Wright is a career 37% 3-pt shooter and has bounced around the league for quite a few teams. He’d be a good depth piece for the Cavs to consider.
Carter is my dream pickup for this Cavs team. He won teammate of the year last season. He’s still a good athlete at nearly 40 years old. He can defend. He can play multiple positions. He’s a good inside scorer. And he shoots 37% from three. And he’s never won a championship. He’s exactly the kind of player the Cavaliers need.
This is obligatory, but Sanders, if he is indeed serious about making a comeback, would be a fantastic fit in Cleveland. The Cavs need an athletic rim protector, which is exactly what Sanders is.
The Warriors got a lot better in the offseason, and they’ll be motivated to retake their spot atop the NBA. The Cavaliers need to be ready to exploit their weakness, which is their front court. Signing one or more of these players would greatly help that cause.