The plan for the Cleveland Cavaliers after having the number one overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft was almost surely to make a run for the playoffs. With youth and inexperience, discourse in the locker room, a coach not fit for this particular team, and many other problems, though, this team was far from the postseason last year.
Now LeBron James has come back home, brandishing a proverbial Excalibur atop a proverbial white horse. Now LeBron has come back home to save them.
There’s no signing in the league with a greater impact than James coming back to the Cavs. That shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who has watched basketball in the last decade or especially in the last four-to-five years. LeBron is unequivocally the best player in the league that has transformed into an elite leader who makes everyone around him better. Adding a player like that to a talented young team is exactly what Cleveland needs to change their fortunes.
Joining LeBron in Cleveland are two sharpshooters that flanked him over the course of his reign with the Miami Heat. Both veteran wing Mike Miller and James Jones signed deals with the Cavs this summer to help give them shooting around James. Those additions also role player voids left by losing Luol Deng and C.J. Miles on the wings.
The Cavs freed up more room on their roster via trade, sending out Sergey Karasev, Jarrett Jack, and Tyler Zeller in return for future picks, rights to overseas players, and cap-relief in a three-team deal. They also received Brendan Haywood, Dwight Powell’s rights, John Lucas, Malcolm Thomas, and Erik Murphy while losing a future second-rounder, Carrick Felix and Scotty Hopson in a number of other trades.
However, it is another trade that still has the Cavs on hold at this point. Sure, they have signed the number one-overall pick from this year’s draft in Andrew Wiggins (as well as Joe Harris in the second round), but that’s not something anyone can bank on right now for this season. The reason being, of course, that the Cavs are still dead-set on a trade for Kevin Love.
Recent reports indicate that a trade for Love is imminent in the next month and other reports indicate that the Cavs are the only team with a viable shot of grabbing the All-Star power forward. A deal for Love would almost surely include Wiggins and Anthony Bennett, and would drastically change things for the better for Cleveland.
Until the situation with Love comes to a definitive conclusion, it’s difficult to figure what to consider the Cavs’ outlook is. Having LeBron in-tow makes them a contender in the East on its own merits. However, the addition of Love would likely make the Cavs the favorites for a title and give Cleveland one of the best offseasons in history. Until then, though, there’s just too much left to the imagination.
Final Grade: Incomplete