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What should the Cavs do with their final roster spots?

What should the Cavs do with their final roster spots?

We are now just 55 days away from the start of the 2018-2019 NBA season, and that means that teams are beginning to finalize their roster. However, the Cleveland Cavaliers still have three spots remaining on their team. It is unlikely that the Cavs will begin the season with less than a full roster, so some moves are sure to come in the near future.

Here are a few options that general manager Koby Altman should consider.

Technically, there are only two open roster spots, as shooting guard Rodney Hood is currently a restricted free agent, and has not signed the qualifying offer or a new contract with the Cavs. Because of the NBA salary cap situation and his less than stellar performance in the playoffs, Hood isn’t likely to relieve much more interest than the passing glances the Bulls and Kings gave him last month. Whether it’s just for this season or long-term, Hood should be back in a Cleveland uniform next season.

Rodney Hood

The other pending player is David Nwaba, who reportedly committed to signing with the Cavaliers at the beginning of August. Nothing has happened as of yet, but there is no reason to believe that either side has backed out of their informal agreement.

That leaves one active spot and one two-way contract to give out. Right now, the Cavs have 13 players under contract for this season.

PG: George Hill, Collin Sexton, Jordan Clarkson

SG: Cedi Osman, J.R. Smith

SF: Sam Dekker, Kyle Korver, Billy Preston

PF: Kevin Love, Larry Nance Jr., Channing Frye

C: Tristan Thompson, Ante Zizic

Kevin Love, Cavs

Preston is a rookie who participated in the Summer League for the Cavaliers. He is signed to a two-way contract for this season, which will allow him to be on the NBA roster for up to 45 days, with the rest of the season spent in the G-League. This will be extremely beneficial for Preston because he did not play college basketball last year. He will be able to get reps in the G-League that he wouldn’t in the NBA.

Assuming Hood and Nwaba are signed before the season begins, Cleveland’s depth chart now looks like this:

PG: George Hill, Collin Sexton, Jordan Clarkson

SG: Rodney Hood, David Nwaba, J.R. Smith

SF: Cedi Osman, Sam Dekker, Kyle Korver, Billy Preston

PF: Kevin Love, Larry Nance Jr., Channing Frye

C: Tristan Thompson, Ante Zizic

Cedi Osman, Cavaliers

The second two-way contract should be given to one of the players on Cleveland’s 2018 Summer League roster. The top contestant is shooting guard Scoochie Smith, who has good handles and a very nice shooting stroke. As the seventh two-guard on the roster, Smith wouldn’t see much time in the NBA, but would be able to light up the scoreboard for the Canton Charge.

It’s unfair to call this team “deep”, but at first glance, considering that they aren’t expected to contend for the NBA Finals, there are no glaring weaknesses. The 15th player will either not play, or force one of the current players to the end of the bench. There probably won’t be a balance between useful rotational player and good locker room presence, so the Cavs will have to pick one or the other.

At this point in NBA free agency, there aren’t too many players that fit the first description. Jamal Crawford has been consistently linked to the Cavaliers ever since LeBron James re-joined the team in 2014, but now Cleveland is in a very different position. Shooting guard is probably the Cavs’ deepest position, with at least six players likely to see time there. Crawford isn’t better than any of them right now, and would function more as a mentor for Collin Sexton. If the Young Bull can learn some of Crawford’s devastating dribble moves, he’d be all the better for it.

Collin Sexton, Cavs

The other main option is a player that Cleveland has already shown interest in this offseason. Trevor Booker is a hard-nosed power forward in the mold of Tristan Thompson. He is a solid defender and always plays with a high motor. There’s no doubt that he would be able to help the team, but signing him could end up doing more harm than good, as adding Booker to the big man room would reduce the amount of minutes that Ante Zizic were to get, hindering his development.

The addition that makes the most sense is another homecoming, which would have nearly the exact same effect as bringing back Channing Frye. Richard Jefferson is still available, and adding him to the locker room would make a bigger impact than any other free agent on the market. He was adored by his teammates during his first stint in Cleveland, and five of those players are still on the roster. His leadership would be extremely beneficial for the plethora of young players on the team, and, perhaps most importantly, the Road Trippin’ Podcast could return to its former glory.

The Cavaliers have two more roster spots to fill, and the two players most deserving of them are Scoochie Smith and Richard Jefferson, for two completely different reasons. Although they would both be fine additions, Cleveland’s focus should be on retaining Hood and signing Nwaba, before making the final roster edits priority.

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