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Three moves the Cavs can make to round out their roster

lebron james kevin love, cavs

With a little over a month till the Cleveland Cavaliers tip off against the Atlanta Hawks in their first preseason game, there are a few questions remaining with the final parts of their roster. The lineup currently stands at seventeen active players, two above the maximum allotment of fifteen. That said, there are three possible scenarios the Cavs could pursue in order to both reach fifteen players and continue to build the roster towards championship contention.

Scenario #1 – Waive Kay Felder, Edy Tavares and continue with present roster

The most obvious and probable scenario of the three for Cleveland is to say goodbye to sophomore players Kay Felder and Edy Tavares. After waiving both Felder and Tavares, the team could turn right around and sign both players to the teams’ new two-way contracts to allow both of them to play primarily with the Canton Charge, the Cavs’ G-League affiliate, while still on the Cavaliers’ payroll. This way they could both remain ingrained in the Cavaliers franchise while still being able to develop their very raw potential.

One of the main reasons the Cavs could pursue this avenue is because both Felder and Tavares will not play that often this season with head coach Tyronn Lue’s opposition to playing younger players.

For Felder, the team did him no favors this offseason when they signed Derrick Rose and Jose Calderon, who are both firmly ahead of him on the depth chart. Even with Isaiah Thomas on the mend due to his hip injury and not being able to play until possibly December or January this season, the Cavs may also not want to carry a roster with two point guards under 5’9″ while already having capable players in the rotation with Rose and Calderon.

In his only game last season with Cleveland, Walter “Edy” Tavares showed tons of potential that made it clear why he won the NBA G-League’s Defensive Player of the Year award when he recorded six points, ten rebounds, and six blocks. Despite this, Tavares suffers the same fate as Felder as he sits firmly behind Tristan Thompson and Channing Frye. Another strike against Tavares is the fact that in the Kyrie Irving trade with the Boston Celtics, the Cavs also landed Ante Zizic, a player who appears to have more potential and is more NBA ready to serve as a third-string center for Cleveland.

After saying goodbye to Felder and Tavares and watching them grow from afar in Canton, the Cavs would head into the 2017-18 season with its depth chart looking like this (granted that everyone is healthy):

While it is not the best roster, the offseason additions of Thomas, Crowder, and Rose will help the Cavs continue their Eastern Conference dominance and help try and keep better pace with the Golden State Warriors.

Scenario #2 – Offloading Iman Shumpert, adding more talent from Chicago

The second scenario will follow a similar situation to the first one that lets go of Felder and Tavares. Here, the team will look to move the bloated contract of Iman Shumpert. After signing Shumpert to a four-year $40-million contract in 2015, his play has fallen off a cliff and is third on the depth chart currently at the shooting guard position. According to Cavs beat writer Sam Amico, the team has been trying to move Shumpert for a while now and the Houston Rockets, Chicago Bulls, and Dallas Mavericks have all shown interest in acquiring the former defensive dynamo. If the Cavs are able to attach a second-round pick, like the one they acquired from Boston in the Irving trade, it will definitely help sweeten the deal and move Shumpert.

Once Shumpert and his bloated contract are out of Cleveland they should keep their eyes peeled on the waiver wire. According to ESPN’s Nick Friedell, a buyout of Chicago Bulls shooting guard Dwyane Wade is “almost inevitable” while on The Jump.

If Wade is bought out by Chicago and he signs with the Cavaliers to once again team up with best friend LeBron James, here is what Cleveland’s depth chart will look like next season:

  • PG – Isaiah Thomas, Derrick Rose, Jose Calderon
  • SG – Dwyane Wade, J.R. Smith, Kyle Korver
  • SF – LeBron James, Jae Crowder, Cedi Osman, Richard Jefferson
  • PF – Kevin Love, Jeff Green
  • C – Tristan Thompson, Channing Frye, Ante Zizic

If the Cavs pull off this move, it would be huge for the team who looks to continue contending by adding a top-ten shooting guard to its roster. Plus, it would be cool to see plays like this again:

Scenario #3 – Cavs move Channing Frye, Iman Shumpert, Brooklyn Pick to New Orleans for DeMarcus Cousins

Finally, combining parts of the first two scenarios with the third one, the Cavs swing for the fences in contending during LeBron James’ possible final season in Cleveland by shipping Channing Frye, Iman Shumpert, and the highly-coveted 2018 Brooklyn Nets first round pick to the New Orleans Pelicans for Demarcus Cousins.

For New Orleans, the move makes the most sense logically with the fact that they are not going to be able to contend in a loaded Western Conference. They are able to keep building around once-in-a-generation talent Anthony Davis with the Brooklyn pick by adding a talent like Michael Porter Jr or Marvin Bagley III.

For Cleveland, being able to shed Shumpert’s contract and an expiring in Frye would be huge but it would really suck to lose a coveted draft pick like that of Brooklyn. But, the fact that they can land the best center in the league in Demarcus Cousins nullifies the loss of the Brooklyn pick and the Cavs can easily take on the Golden State Warriors who struggle defending centers. The Cavs would also still pick up Dwyane Wade after he is bought out by the Bulls.

Here is what the Cavs roster would look like on opening night:

  • PG – Isaiah Thomas, Derrick Rose, Jose Calderon
  • SG – Dwyane Wade, JR Smith, Kyle Korver
  • SF – LeBron James, Jae Crowder, Cedi Osman, Richard Jefferson
  • PF – Kevin Love, Jeff Green
  • C – Demarcus Cousins, Tristan Thompson, Ante Zizic

This roster would be the odds-on favorite to win the NBA title and would more than likely keep LeBron James in Cleveland beyond next season.

In the end, the Cavaliers need to make some moves in order to get under their current roster of seventeen players. They will be looking to make moves to continue contending for NBA titles, all while trying their hardest to secure pieces for the future as well. The team is currently at a crossroads and trading disgruntled guard Kyrie Irving helped set the team on the right path. The moves they make next will impact the team for years to come.

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