Cleveland Cavaliers act like a franchise that values their future.
The League has Changed
Since the free agency experience of 2010, the NBA has enjoyed additional drama from speculation on trades and signings. Gone are the days when the superstars would play for only one team their entire career. Now, the elite players are accustomed to “taking their talents” to different locations on almost a yearly basis. With so much movement in the league today, franchises feel the pressure to keep their superstars happy. If the stars aren’t satisfied in their current situation, they may opt to leave for greener pastures upon the finale of their contract. The transactions that the Cleveland Cavilers accomplished at the trade deadline seem like a reaction to LeBron’s discontent. Discontent that would ultimately lead to his departure. But by keeping the Nets first round draft pick, trading for young players, and the potential of both sides going there separate ways, the Cavs are setting up for the future, with or without LeBron.
The Draft pick is the future of the Cavaliers
The Cleveland Cavaliers acquired the Brooklyn Nets draft pick from the Boston Celtics in the Kyrie Irving trade. Currently, the Nets are one of the worst teams in the NBA which means the Cavs will likely be in the lottery. The higher the pick, the better chance of drafting a player that will eventually become a star. If LeBron would to leave, the Cavs would be able to start their rebuilding process right away by drafting a potential franchise player in this year’s draft. Of course they won’t fill LeBron’s shoes, but definitely a good launching point. Espcially around a core of younger players which leads to the next point.
Out with the old, in with the new
The Cleveland Cavaliers office managed to trade away seven of their players at the trade deadline. 31 is the average age of these players, which is considered veteran age in the NBA. New additions Larry Nance Young Jr, Rodney Hood, George Hill, and Jordan Clarkson average an age of 26, six years younger than the players who were traded away. An added bonus, the average salary for these new players next year will only be $9.2 million. Ask the Rockets on finding value in their players. Nance, Hood and Clarkson are already starting to make a name for themselves in the NBA. The Cav’s new additions aren’t world beaters by any stretch of the imagination, but they are young and valuable pieces. This gives the Cleveland Cavaliers flexibility. They can either develop them along their draft pick or use them as trade-able assets to bring in a star player.
Life after divorce
If Lebron decided to depart Cleveland and sign somewhere else this off season, the Cavs will be moving on too. Everyone knows the icy relationship between LeBron James and Dan Gilbert, owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Gilbert infamously penned the open letter to Cavs fans calling LeBron’s departure in 2010 cowardly along with other negative comments. LeBron responded seven years later labeling that letter racial. A quick Google search will uncover more talking points in their icy relationship. If LeBron decides to part ways with the organization, this can be a positive for both sides. Lebron can focus on his career on and off the court while Gilbert can focus on rebuilding the team. Maybe they just need their space from each other until the Cavs retire LeBron’s jersey. Absence makes the heart grow fonder after all.
I’ve put put together why the Cavs are looking to the future, with or without LeBron James. Of course, any team will be lucky to have him. The Cavs will still extend a contract for him in the off season. However with the recent trades, and future draft pick, the Cav’s front office refuse to leave all the power in Jame’s hands and are taking the steps necessary to rebuild for the future.