After trading Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics, the Cleveland Cavaliers head into the new season with a lot more depth throughout their roster.
The deal for Irving saw the franchise receive All-Star Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder and Ante Zizic in return and it has helped to bolster multiple positions.
The Cavs also signed free agents Derrick Rose, Jeff Green and Jose Calderon in the offseason and they look deep enough to make the finals for a fourth consecutive year.
It will be the job of head coach Tyronn Lue to put the right pieces together and create a rotation that will have the Cavaliers firing on all cylinders.
He will have many options to choose from and combinations to roll out on the court throughout the course of the regular season.
In terms of competing with the Golden State Warriors, their most interesting capture is Crowder due to his versatility, floor spacing and defensive prowess.
He would allow the Cavs to go with a small-ball lineup of himself, Isaiah, LeBron James, J.R. Smith and Kevin Love at center.
LeBron would have to move to power forward to accommodate Crowder at small forward and Love at the pivot which could be a deadly combination offensively.
If this were to happen, it would mean Tristan Thompson loses his starting spot at center but that’s not something Lue is willing to do just yet.
“Right now we’re just trying to get all of our pieces together and right now Tristan’s our starter,” Lue told cleveland.com. “I’m just thinking we’re going to run a lot more stuff through Kevin, more at the elbows, like we’ve done the last year and a half. Just trying to figure out with our new pieces and our new players and just see what works best for us.
“Got a lot of different combinations we can throw out on the floor. So with Bron and Crowder playing the three and the four, that doesn’t necessarily mean that Kevin will be at the five. It can be Tristan, it can be Channing (Frye).”
There’s no doubt that Lue will be spoilt for choice and will undoubtedly experience teething problems early in the campaign, but Cleveland’s season doesn’t essentially start until April so he can use the regular season for experimentation.
With Kyle Korver, Channing Frye, Iman Shumpert, Richard Jefferson, Green and Calderon among the options on a stacked bench, the Wine and Gold are still the strong favourites to win the Eastern Conference again.