Where do the Cavaliers go from here?
That seems to be the question of the NBA offseason.
It’s always interesting how finishing anything less than first is what leads to speculation, occasional rumor-mongering, and lots of people expecting a team to take desperate measures.
Do the Cavs need work to overtake Kevin Durant and the new world champion Golden State Warriors?
Yes, the Cavaliers do.
Do the Cavs need to gut the roster, trade Kevin Love or figure out a way to get Chicago Bulls star Jimmy Butler without giving up anything in return?
Probably not. And even if the Cavs wanted all that, it likely couldn’t happen. And it may not be the best move.
Remember, Love, LeBron James and Kyrie Irving have been to three straight Finals, and have won a title. Those three are the core of the team.
Tristan Thompson and J.R. Smith, the other two starters, have also been to three straight Finals — as have top reserves Iman Shumpert and Richard Jefferson. So this is a group that knows how to fight first, every year.
So why tear the group apart? Because it finished second?
Seriously. Maybe the answer is indeed yes — and the Cavs need to make major moves in order to get past the new-look Warriors.
But maybe the answer is just an adjustment here, an adjustment there, adjustments, adjustments everywhere. But they can be minor repairs.’
They can be minor questions:
How do we get LeBron some rest?
Can we convince James and Irving that a motion offense is better than dribbling … dribbling … and then trying to make something happen at the last minute?
Are Love and Thompson champions at heart, or just around to ride the coattails of the real stars?
Those are just the start of some of the things facing the Cavs this offseason.
A thousand stories will be reported about the Cavs’ plans within the next few weeks. We’ll hear a lot about LeBron wanting to leave. We’ll hear a lot about Love and how he’s a poor fit — and how Indiana Pacers star Paul George would be the solution to everything.
Some of that stuff might actually be true.
We really can expect see significant change to the Cavs’ bench. Owner Dan Gilbert will demand it, regardless of who is the general manager.
Ah, yes. The GM.
As you probably know, David Griffin’s contract is up at the end of the month. As repeatedly reported right here, Gilbert is expected to meet with Griffin and make Griffin a strong offer to stay. Right now, it doesn’t look like Griffin has a ton of other places to go.
Anyway, getting the GM a new deal is the top priority.
After that, the GM will be taking and making calls. He’ll be looking at getting into the draft (Detroit’s No. 12 overall pick is said to be available, as is at least one of Portland’s three first-rounders). He’ll be examining the roster, determining who still fits. He’ll be keeping both eyes wide open heading into the July free agency period.
That is the game as it is played in the summer — and some will tell you it is the most important game of all.
If the Cavs can improve things even a little, they will be right there, yet again, with another chance at another title.
And that’s really all anyone asks heading into a new season. How they go about getting there will be the interesting part.