While we sit and ponder where LeBron will land in free agency, fans should ponder the direction of our favorite team, the Cavaliers.
The Cavs signed Kyrie Irving to a five year, $90 million extension Tuesday morning. This move was a must if the Cavs front office wanted to secure the All-Star’s future in Cleveland, and build the team up around Irving as the centerpiece. Some may agree with Irving being able to be that centerpiece, and some may not. Regardless, Irving is the new future of the Cavs, along with Dion Waiters, and Andrew Wiggins.
Or are they?
Rumors have flown indicating the availability of Dion Waiters. Many fans want to see Waiters continue to grow with the young core of the Cavs, but in his first two seasons his inability to get along with Irving on, and off the court, have been somewhat worrisome. These issues range from ignoring each other on the court, to the rumored scrum off the court that left Irving with a black eye.
This is not about bringing up past demons, but to perhaps take a look into a possible future.
Could these issues linger over to the present and convince the front office that perhaps it is worth seeing what Waiters is worth in the market, to completely make this Irving’s team? Because with Waiters on the team, it will never be clear who’s team it is. That’s just how Waiters is wired, and I’d love to see that same kind of attitude from Irving this upcoming season.
No rumors have surrounded the newest number one overall pick, but there is an idea floating around about Andrew Wiggins. ESPN’s Chris Broussard proposed that “the Cavs should trade [Andrew] Wiggins for [Kevin] Love,” to try and lure LeBron back to Cleveland. This statement brings up the question, are the Cavs building for the future, or for LeBron?
Scenario one would be building for LeBron. The result, wins. Perhaps even championships. This is almost a fantasy come true, and a lot of things would have to work out for this to happen. Imagine a core of Irving, LeBron, and Kevin Love for the next five years. The Cavs would own the NBA’s new big three, and would have a great chance to win championships. But that’s just on paper. Nobody ever knows how things work out until they are put to use.
For this to happen, the Cavs would have to extinguish their long-term future by saying goodbye to Wiggins, Waiters, and likely Tristan Thompson. Maybe Anthony Bennett, also. The Cavs would have to give those players up, perhaps not all, but definitely Waiters and Wiggins, to acquire Love from the Timberwolves. League executives do not view Waiters as valuable as most Cavs fans, and would agree that Waiters does not equate to an all-star caliber player like Love. For something like this to happen, Dan Gilbert would have to put all of his eggs back in that familiar LeBron basket, and forget about the trust that was trampled on in 2010.
Scenario two would have the Cavs building for next season, and the next 7-10 years. It’s not about convincing anyone that patience is key, because our fans know about patience. However, if the team that is built around Irving, Waiters, Wiggins, Bennett, Thompson, etc., and can be added onto with talented veterans, this team could make playoff runs and eventually be championship ready. It would not require LeBron, or Love, and could be accomplished without trading away any key pieces of the young core the Cavs have built.
This core along with new head coach David Blatt, could grow into something special over the next few years.
Scenario three would be the ultimate home run. Keep the young core, and sign LeBron this off-season. This scenario leads to all kinds of different possibilities and is what I would call the jackpot. LeBron is the greatest basketball player in the world, and could help push the Cavs to new heights.
So the Cavs could go one way or the other, or hit the “jackpot.” The first scenario is a very bold and flashy move that would have fans drooling. The second scenario could do the same, but it would take some time. If the Spurs have taught basketball fans anything over the last 15 years, it’s that strong team chemistry can put a team over the top. Years of playing together and growing with each other may be the key to winning. Or, teaming up with other stars could be the way to do it.
What do you guys think, do you want to see the Cavs build for LeBron, or build for the future together?
-AJ Ondrey (@CST_AJ)