First, I want to thank Kyrie Irving for six marvelous seasons in a Cavaliers uniform. The man grew up right in front of us with his dazzling crossovers and unbelievable finishing skills at the basket. There are many moments that will stick with me during his tenure as a Cavalier, but we all know the one that will stick with all of Cleveland.
Now, after a long summer of rumors and drama in Cleveland, I think it is safe to say we can breathe for now. Since the Suns would not budge with the possibility of letting go of Devin Booker or Josh Jackson, or the drama surrounding Jimmy Butler or Paul George, I believe the Cavaliers made the right choice in trading Kyrie to Boston. Boston has the most assets and key role players out of any team in the NBA. Even though they are the closest team to be a “rival” with the Cavs in the East, there are many possibilities that Cleveland has with their roster now.
The first thing sticking in my mind is that 2018 first round pick. There are a few options the Cavaliers could do with this pick. The first instinct would be to trade that pick for a future star player like a Devin Booker. The thing that also sticks in my mind would be to keep that pick because no one has any idea what the plans of one LeBron James are for next summer. Cleveland could wait until the draft next season to see how much value that pick has because we all know, the Brooklyn Nets will not win above 35 games in the upcoming season. This means that pick could be a top-five pick and the Cavs could use that to get a stud to keep James in Cleveland. That pick holds a lot of stake in what Cleveland could become within the next 11 months.
Second, the acquisition of Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder are huge. Cleveland fans will see a lot of different variations out on the court in 2018. Isaiah still has a nagging hip injury from last season, so the Cavaliers will monitor him throughout the first couple of months. The real issue I see happening is finding minutes for the backcourt. The bench has so many shooting guards, the Cavs might need to empty some expiring contracts like Richard Jefferson and Channing Frye.
They could also look to trade Iman Shumpert since J.R. Smith, Kyle Korver, and the up-and-coming Cedi Osman will take up the bulk of the minutes. The small forward position will be occupied by LeBron James, Jae Crowder or Jeff Green. You might maybe see Tristan Thompson get shipped somewhere to rebuild the center spot. I think we will see many more rosters moves during the season, especially if Dwyane Wade buys out with Chicago and want to join the Cavs.
The possibilities are endless.
As I said prior, coach Ty Lue will have a lot of mixing and matching for rotations. It could also mean you could see LeBron move to the four with Crowder starting at the three and Love at the five. Derrick Rose will see an increased role as well since Cleveland will not know when Isaiah will be back for the season. The best thing about Jae Crowder is his friendly contract. He is owed $6-8 million each year and is under control until 2020. Lue will definitely need to hash some rotations during the season, but the good thing is the bench is deeper and younger than in prior years. He can keep players more fresh and ready for the 2018 playoff run.
The last piece of the deal could be a huge pickup if he pans out. His name is Ante Zizic. Many people are probably thinking, who is this guy? Well, “ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla was high on Zizic when the Celtics drafted him, despite the dismay of fans. ‘I would caution those Celtics fans,’ Fraschilla said via Boston.com. ‘[Zizic] is one of my favorite kids in this draft. He’s 6-11, 240. He has a mean streak.” Source: SBNation. The best part about Zizic is he played under David Blatt over in Israel. Basically, in my mind, he can stretch the floor and be a big time facilitator. You could see many compare him to Porzingis but watching some of his highlights, I would say he could be Nikola Jokic. Either way, he could pan out to be a great addition that will help the Cavs in the future and only time will tell how the roster will pan out over the next year.
Get excited Cavs fans!
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