Before the 2014 champion is decided, the Cleveland Cavaliers are preparing for the 2015 season.
Since LeBron James left Cleveland after the 2010 season, Cleveland has sunk to the bottom of the NBA. Since the 2011 NBA draft, Cleveland has had 5 top 4 draft picks, 3 of which are the first overall pick. Those picks have resulted in a hodgepodge mix of talented players, who have not been able to turn their talent into victories.
As the 2014 NBA draft approaches, Cleveland once again has the first overall pick, the 3rd time in 4 years. The 2014 draft looks to be one of the most talent laden drafts in recent memory. Yet the Cavs have reportedly been fishing the top pick around in search of a quick fix. Many of these rumors are undyingly attached to a pipedream of a LeBron James reunion.
One of the most prominent rumors is a trade that would land the disgruntled Minnesota Timberwolves power forward, Kevin Love, in Cleveland. In this exchange, Cleveland would trade the number one overall pick and at least one of their recent top draft picks. This scenario means Cleveland would acquire a star in Kevin Love and some accessory role players, while maintaining cap space to reel LeBron James in once free agency starts on July 1.
If Cleveland can pull the Kevin Love trade off without mortgaging too much of their future, they will be able to resign their best player, Point Guard Kyrie Irving. It is reported Cleveland’s top priority on July 1st will be resigning Irving to a maximum deal. Cleveland is expected to offer Irving a 5-year extension in the 90 million dollar range. While Kyrie is expected to sign the extension it is by no means a shoe-in as there are rumors swirling whether Irving wants to play for the Cavaliers.
If Kyrie Irving declines to sign an extension, Cleveland can kiss its chances at signing LeBron James goodbye. Cleveland would then go back into rebuilding mode and likely have to trade Irving at some point in the 2014 season. Interest in Irving will be high but the Cavs will likely not receive fair compensation given there are only a handful of teams with draft picks and/or players which would be of value to Cleveland.
In any scenario this is going to be the most important off-season for the Cavaliers since LeBron James’ 'The Decision' in 2010. Will Cleveland be able to pick up some talent to keep its best player and pick up one of the superstars expected to test the market in 2014? Or will the Cavs have to trade their best player and reload for a season a few years down the road?
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