How do you follow a championship run? Well, if you’re the Cavaliers, it appears the plan is to bring back the band.
Or perhaps more accurately, to maintain the foundation.
That seemed to be the rally cry of Cavs general manager David Griffin in an interview with ESPN Radio over the weekend.
“We’ve been really fortunate,” Griffin said in the exclusive ESPN Q&A. “Ownership has invested in this group to such a huge degree. When we were the largest taxpayer in the league last year and I think the second highest ever, there were times during the year where I felt really, really bad about spending that much of their money.”
Griffin added: “I do think you saw the core of our team. It fits together and it’s capable of doing some very special things. I do think we would like to keep it together.”
Just like every summer, the Cavs have some free agents who may or may not be missed should they split.
The entire list reads like this: LeBron James, J.R. Smith, Matthew Dellavedova, Timofey Mozgov, James Jones and Dahntay Jones.
LeBron has already told cleveland.com he’s coming back. As for Smith and Delly … well, it’s hard to say.
The Cavs really want to bring back Smith. They’re confident he’ll return, too. But it could get tricky. Unlike last summer when Smith was a free agent, he’ll actually have some suitors. He buried some huge shots in the Finals win over the Warriors and turned himself into a true two-way player.
Dellavedova, on the other hand, seemed to become less of a factor as the games became more meaningful. He could be a goner.
Meanwhile, Mozgov fell completely out of favor under coach Tyronn Lue and got buried at the end of the bench. It’s also hard to make a case that Mozgov should’ve been anywhere else. He just wasn’t good enough for long enough this past season.
As for keeping up with the Joneses — James will have a spot on the team as long as LeBron is around. Dahntay, on the other hand, did some nice things but probably won’t be back.
But main players from LeBron to Kyrie Irving to Kevin Love to Tristan Thompson and beyond are all destined to give this championship thing another try — in Cleveland.
“I think our best basketball is in front of us because we finally grew to the point that we were ready to achieve something together,” Griffin said. “I expect you’re going to see better play from Kyrie Irving, who I think took a huge jump as both an individual talent and a winner throughout these playoffs. I think Kevin’s fit with us is much more clearly defined.
“We intend to keep this group together and see what we’re capable of.”