The Cleveland Cavaliers are heading into a crucial offseason to continue the franchise's rise to a perennial championship contender.
The Cavs have made some nice strides the past few seasons, making good draft choices with Tristan Thompson and Kyrie Irving and finding and developing young talent like Samardo Samuels, Manny Harris and Alonzo Gee.
The quest, of course, is far from being complete.
Work still needs to be done in the draft room, general manager's office and practice floor. How do the Cavs plan to improve in these areas? What are their plans for the draft and the free agency, and are any trades on the horizon?
Here is the latest Cavs buzz from across the web.
Update: Friday, August 3 -- Maxwell Ogden
The Cleveland Cavaliers' search for a starting small forward may have come to a close. With one swift action, the Cavs have signed a defensive force with great length in C.J. Miles.
Unrestricted free agent small forward C.J. Miles has agreed to terms with the Cleveland Cavaliers, a league source told The Salt Lake Tribune on Friday.
Miles is expected to sign a two-year deal with Cleveland and compete for a starting spot during the 2012-13 season.
At this point, there is no rational option in the Cavaliers' starting lineup to start over C.J. Miles. More news on his role in the rotation will be reported as it emerges.
--End of Update--
The Cleveland Cavaliers have had quite a solid offseason, acquiring serious talent in the NBA Draft and inserting themselves in the Dwight Howard trade talks. Their latest move could fill the void at their weakest remaining position.
[C.J. Miles], who has spent his entire career with Utah, is scheduled to visit with the Cleveland Cavaliers this week, although there has been no contract offered.
C.J. Miles would offer a major improvement over the Cavaliers' current situation at the 3. He's a better defensive player than on the present roster and has respectable range on his jump shot.
More on this story as it develops.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are in need of a swingman to hold down the small forward position. While one might suggest re-signing Alonzo Gee, the Cavs appear more inclined to work under the impression that they will either not re-sign him or need depth behind him.
After lighting up the Olympic games for Argentina, the buzz surrounding seven year NBA veteran Carlos Delfino continues to grow. The Cleveland Cavaliers are reportedly interested in joining the fray and looking to Delfino as they search for a sharpshooter on the perimeter.
Fortunately, Delfino is just that and more. He's also an active defender, lethal slasher and exquisite ball handler when on his game.
More details will be reported as they emerge.
The Cleveland Cavaliers have had an excellent offseason. They remain at odds, however, with the issue of depth in their rotation.
One of the positions in which the Cavaliers lack depth is at the point. While reigning Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving is certain to hold down the position, he's proven to be injury-prone early in his career. To solidify the position, Cleveland has completed a trade with the Memphis Grizzlies.
Griz send Jeremy Pargo, 2014 2nd round pick and cash to Cleveland for swingman D.J. Kennedy— Commercial Appeal (@CAGrizBlog) July 26, 2012
In 2012, Jeremy Pargo averaged 2.9 points and 1.3 assists in 9.6 minutes per game. He should offer the Cavaliers similar numbers in virtually the same average of minutes per game.
Update: Thursday, July 26 -- Maxwell Ogden
As reported below, Alonzo Gee and the Cleveland Cavaliers are "not close to a deal." If you ask Gee himself, however, that's more upsetting to him than one might assume.
More details on this story will be reported as they emerge.
Update: Wednesday, July 25 -- Joel C. Cordes
Restricted free agent Alonzo Gee has been on the market for nearly a month now, but has yet to receive much outside interest.
While he does have a qualifying offer from the Cleveland Cavaliers, it appears he's not interested in signing it. For now, it's a waiting game, but as Fox Sports' Sam Amico notes, the Cavs might be already weiging their other options:
Cavs meeting with free agent SF C.J. Miles (Jazz) Weds & Thurs, source says. Not close to deal with Alonzo Gee, may consider other options.— Sam Amico (@SamAmicoFSO) July 25, 2012
Gee was an intriguingly athletic rotation guy who seriously ate away at starter Omri Casspi's minutes last season. Still, it's unclear what his market value is when no one seems all that interested in him.
However, Gee still has upside, whereas C.J. Miles turned out to be no more than a solid player long ago, so it's weird to see the Cavaliers turning to the older version.
- End of Update -
The Cleveland Cavaliers' current roster has a serious void on the perimeter. With an underwhelming combination of Omri Casspi, Kelenna Azubuike and Luke Walton at the small forward position, it appears as if the Cavs are set for yet another disappointing year with holes in their roster.
Fortunately for Cavs Nation, it appears as if Cleveland will avoid that situation.
Per a report via ESPN.com, the Cleveland Cavaliers have extended a qualifying offer to Alonzo Gee. The offer is worth $2.7 million and makes Gee a restricted free agent. Expect the Cavs to match all offers as they bring back their highly productive 3.
Update: Monday, July 23 -- Maxwell Ogden
The Orlando Magic have been involved in a back-and-forth battle with the decision to keep or trade Dwight Howard for roughly a year. While it seems as if all signs have pointed to a potential trade, it appears as if the franchise will hold onto their embattled superstar.
Chris Broussard of ESPN.com has the report.
An executive who has had discussions with the Magic regarding Howard said Orlando only will trade the star center in a deal that is great for the franchise. The executive said this has been Orlando's stance for the past "week or so."
Another executive who has talked with Orlando said he thinks the Magic may start the season with Howard and wait until the February trade deadline to move him.
This decision has been building up to for quite some time, with the Magic refusing deals from a handful of potential suitors. The question at this point, of course, is whether the team will indeed trade Howard come February or hold onto him and try their luck in free agency.
More on this story as details are released.
-- Report via B/R's Dwight Howard Tracker
Update: Thursday, July 19 -- Maxwell Ogden
Could the Dwight Howard for Andrew Bynum trade talks all be a hoax? If you ask Andrew Bynum's agent, the answer might be yes.
Per a report via Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Times, Andrew Bynum's agent David Lee has not been contacted about a potential trade.
While this certainly does not suggest a nail in the coffin, one has to question whether or not the talks are legitimate or media driven. At this point, it appears to be the latter.
-- Report via B/R's Los Angeles Lakers Tracker
Update: Thursday, July 19 -- Maxwell Ogden
The Cleveland Cavaliers have taken yet another precautionary measure in their potential inclusion in the Dwight Howard trade talks. This time around, they're demanding what could only be expected of them: a guaranteed extension of Andrew Bynum's contract.
This comes per a report via Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
"Cleveland will only do the deal if Bynum extends," a league official directly involved in the talks told Yahoo! Sports.
This should come as no surprise, as Cleveland would be foolish to include themselves in any mega deal without a guarantee of their reaping the benefits. Despite what we already assumed, it has now been reported that the deal will hinge on Bynum's extension.
Update: Thursday, July 19 -- Maxwell Ogden
"When I read it online I was in Alaska with Andrew and his family ... I was taken aback by the list considering there is nobody in anybody’s camp he could’ve been talking to. I have no idea where that came about."
This could complicate the Cleveland Cavaliers' role in the Dwight Howard to Los Angeles trade talks. The Cavaliers may not want to give up anything substantial without Andrew Bynum agreeing to re-sign with the team after the 2013 season.
-- Report via B/R's Trade Tracker
Update: Wednesday, July 18 -- Maxwell Ogden
For those Cleveland Cavaliers fans worrying that one of their young pieces would be on the move, fear not. According to Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal, the Cavaliers will not let go of any member of their young core.
The Cavaliers to this point have not seemed inclined to include any of their young players in any potential deals. That includes Dion Waiters, Tristan Thompson, Tyler Zeller and reigning Rookie of the Year Kyrie Irving.
This could complicate the Dwight Howard to Los Angeles trade talks if either the Lakers or Magic were hoping to acquire one of the said players from the Cavaliers. In all likelihood, however, it was made clear from day one that they were not an option.
-- Report via B/R's Trade Tracker
Update: Wednesday, July 18 -- Joel Cordes
Formerly repudiated as nothing more than a pipe dream, ESPN's Ric Bucher is reporting that the Cleveland Cavaliers have been mentioned yet again as a facilitator for the Dwight Howard trade.
In the proposed scenario, Howard obviously goes to the Los Angeles Lakers, Andrew Bynum WOULD still be ending up with the Cavaliers and Anderson Varejao and plenty of draft picks headed to Orlando.
Bucher has stressed that these are merely framework talks at this point and nothing is imminent. Still, this is strong confirmation that last week's "Bynum to Cavs" rumors weren't actually the hot air they appeared to be.
- Content for this update provided by Bleacher Report's NBA Offseason Trade Rumors tracker.
Update: Monday, July 16 — Ethan Norof
The Dwight Howard situation isn't exactly being resolved at light speed.
After talk of a three-team trade sending Howard to the Lakers was deemed to be a bit premature, it turns out that the deal was dead before talks really got off the ground.
Nothing to these trade rumors involving #Cavs, Lakers and Magic, league source confirms. No merit to them at all.— Jason Lloyd (@JasonLloydABJ) July 15, 2012
That's a fairly definitive update, and it's not surprising whatsoever to learn that the three-team deal never had any traction. After all, could anyone really imagine Dan Gilbert signing off on a deal that facilitates Howard landing in Los Angeles?
- End of Update -
Just when we thought the Cleveland Cavaliers had begun building a championship contender, we learn the word "build" just isn't sufficient in the eyes of Dan Gilbert. Alex Kennedy of HoopsWorld.com has the news.
Three-team deal may send Dwight Howard to Lakers, Andrew Bynum to Cavs and picks/prospects/cap relief to Magic. Still trying to get details.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) July 14, 2012
Should the Cavaliers land Andrew Bynum, Cleveland would become an instant favorite in the East. One can only imagine that both Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters are off the table, which creates a potential Big Three that has two potential superstars at the two positions their unspoken rival struggles most.
The word "hopeful" shouldn't do Cleveland justice.
Per a report via Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal, point guard Jonny Flynn worked out for the Cleveland Cavaliers this past week. The teams reportedly share a mutual interest in coming together for the 2013 season.
As for whether or not the point guard would be crowded with Flynn joining Kyrie Irving and Donald Sloan, Byron Scott seems none too concerned. In fact, he feels comfortable.
“It’s something we’re definitely looking at,” [Byron] Scott said. “I’ve always carried three point guards. I don’t think it’s necessarily a necessity, but I’d feel a little more comfortable if we had three.”
Jonny Flynn was drafted sixth overall in the 2009 NBA Draft. The Minnesota Timberwolves drafted two other point guards before and after Flynn in that very draft: Ricky Rubio and Ty Lawson. While Lawson was traded and Rubio didn't come over until 2012, Flynn never panned out.
Nevertheless, he's just 23-years-old and seemed to find his comfort zone with the Portland Trail Blazers in the second half of last season.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are a young team with limitless potential. From a starting lineup filled with rookies and second-year players to veteran Anderson Varejao, the Cavaliers are a team built to win for years to come.
The next best step to take in this chase of a dynasty would be to add some necessary depth,
Per a report via Zach Lowe of Sports Illustrated, the Cavaliers have opted to do just that. Their target is yet another second-year player.
Cavs will sign Jon Leuer, waived this week by Houston.— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_SI) July 20, 2012
Leur spent the 2012 season with the Milwaukee Bucks, starting 12 games and bringing an infectious energy to the floor. Although he could certainly bulk up a bit, he's a very tall player who stretches the floor with a solid mid-range jump shot.
Depending on how much playing time he receives, Leuer could offer a great presence off of the bench for Cleveland in 2013.
Per a report via ESPN.com, reigning Rookie of the Year award winner Kyrie Irving has suffered a broken hand. The injury came as a result of Irving hitting a padded wall in anger during the Cleveland Cavaliers' offseason practice.
According to head coach Byron Scott, this puts a serious hitch in the Cavaliers' plans for the Summer.
"It just really alters all the plans we had this summer as far as summer league was concerned," Cavs coach Byron Scott told reporters in Las Vegas on Sunday before the team opened summer league play against Charlotte. "That was Plan A. We didn't have a Plan B going into this because you just never imagine that happening."
ESPN.com later reported that the Cleveland star would require surgery on his hand. The surgery will occur Wednesday, July 18 and is not expected to keep Irving out of the Cavaliers' September training camps.
Nevertheless, this is a serious blow to a Cavaliers team that had a unique opportunity to build chemistry amongst their regular season starting lineup during the Summer League games.
For a team in the stage of rebuilding, there is nothing quite as important as securing its future. After all, what will the coming years be without the players you intend to lead you there?
According to Mary Schmitt Boyer and Jodie Valade of the Plain Dealer, the Cleveland Cavaliers have done just that. Cleveland has signed first-round draft choices Dion Waiters and Tyler Zeller to their rookie deals.
#Cavs have signed rookies Dion Waiters and Tyler Zeller— M.S. Boyer/J. Valade (@PDcavsinsider) July 5, 2012
Dion Waiters, the Syracuse shooting guard, was selected with the fourth overall draft choice. North Carolina center Tyler Zeller, meanwhile, was acquired via a draft-night trade with the Dallas Mavericks.
Both should see significant playing time in their rookie seasons.
It's no secret that the Cleveland Cavaliers lack options on the perimeter. Their three-point shooting was amongst the worst in the NBA in 2012, as they shot just 34.6 percent from distance and made just 6.7 three-point field goals per contest.
According to Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal, the Cavaliers have taken their first step towards improving their perimeter shooting by re-signing a former Notre Dame star: forward Luke Harangody.
#Cavs announce Luke Harangody re-signing. He signed their qualifying offer— Jason Lloyd (@JasonLloydABJ) July 11, 2012
Harangody is likely to be used as nothing more than a role player. Nevertheless, his ability to hit the three-ball should benefit the Cavaliers greatly whenever he's on the floor.
Per a report via NBA.com, the Cleveland Cavaliers have waived 6'5" guard Manny Harris. This comes after two years with the team in which Harris averaged 6.2 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.5 assists.
Harris provided a nice spark of energy and athleticism. He started 20 games and averaged 17.4 minutes per appearance. At 22, that type of contribution should continue no matter where he ends up signing.
According to Chad Ford of ESPN.com, the Cavaliers have offered to trade all four of their draft picks in the 2012 NBA draft to the Hornets for the No. 1 overall pick.
The Hornets were reported to immediately reject the offer, as they believe the No. 1 pick is worth much more than the Cavs offer.
If the Cavs are able to trade for the top draft pick, they would likely take Kentucky PF Anthony Davis.
The Cavaliers recently were awarded the fourth overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft to go along with the 24th overall pick in the first round from the Los Angeles Lakers.
They also own the 33rd and 34th overall picks, their own plus the New Orleans Hornets' second rounder.
These four total draft picks, all in the top 34 overall, should provide for a major haul in talent for the Cavaliers should they decide to stay where they're at.
According to Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal, the Cavaliers have expressed interest in trading up for the second overall pick. Lloyd states:
Of the three teams selecting ahead of them, the Charlotte Bobcats’ pick at No. 2 seems to be in play. The Hornets certainly won’t trade the No. 1 pick and the chance to draft Kentucky center Anthony Davis and Washington Wizards owner Ted Leonsis made it clear Wednesday night the Wizards are staying put at No. 3.
It appears Charlotte could be a willing trade partner with the Cavs, and that is something to keep an eye on moving forward.
Bradley Beal and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist have been the two most likely prospects for the Cavs to snatch up, but it's possible one or both will be gone if the Cavaliers stay put with the No. 4 pick.
According to ESPN's Chad Ford, in an article by Waiting For Next Year, the Cavs could have interest in multiple prospects with the fourth pick.
The Cavaliers were really hoping to get either Kidd-Gilchrist or Beal out of this draft. Given our current mock, both players are off the board. We currently have the Cavs grabbing Harrison Barnes at No. 4. The Cavs actually were hoping that Barnes was going to be in the draft last year and sources say they would’ve grabbed him at No. 4. Do they still love him after a disappointing sophomore season? Are they willing to roll the dice on Drummond instead? I hear Jeremy Lamb isn’t out of the question here, either.
Jeremy Lamb at No. 4 seems like a bit of a reach, although he fits the bill of a very successful NBA shooting guard.
Harrison Barnes is the current projected pick by Ford, and appears to be someone the Cavs have had their eyes on for a few years now.
The salary cap for the NBA in 2012-2013 is expected to be $60-$61 million (according to the NY Post), up from the $58 million it was set at this year.
Looking at the Cavaliers' committed salaries for next season, they currently stand to have around $29 million in available cap space to spend before factoring in incoming draft picks.
Only Anderson Varejao ($8.4 million), Luke Walton ($6.1 million), Kyrie Irving ($5.5 million), Daniel Gibson ($4.7 million team option, $2.5 million buyout), Tristan Thompson ($4 million) and Omri Casspi ($2.2 million) are under contract for next season.
While the Cavaliers have enough cap space to make a splash, it doesn't mean that they necessarily will.
The crown jewels of the 2012 free-agent class are Deron Williams, Eric Gordon and Roy Hibbert. Gordon and Hibbert are both restricted, so the Hornets and Pacers can match anything that they're offered. Williams is a point guard, and the Cavaliers are already pretty set at that position.
You have to look at the second or even third tier of free agents to see players the Cavs might be interested. According to Fox Sports Ohio's Sam Amico, there are five lesser-known free agents he'd prefer to see the Cavs target.
His top five are:
1. Spencer Hawes, Center, Philadelphia 76ers
2. Nick Young, Shooting Guard, Los Angeles Clippers
3. Shannon Brown, Shooting Guard, Phoenix Suns
4. Kris Humphries, Power Forward, Brooklyn Nets
5. O.J. Mayo, Shooting Guard, Memphis Grizzlies
While most of these players would fill major needs for Cleveland, one in particular stands out to me.
Hawes is a legit 7'1" center who had a PER of 18.19 last year for the Sixers. He's an unrestricted free agent and is only 24 years old. Signing him would mean more minutes back at power forward for Anderson Varejao, which is his natural position.
Young, Brown and Mayo don't do much else but score, and Mayo shoots a very low percentage. Humphries seems like the type of player who wants maximum exposure and attention. I doubt he'd want to come to Cleveland, and as he would be playing the same position as Tristan Thompson, the Cavs shouldn't be too interested.
Alonzo Gee showed significant improvements in his game last season, and that caught the eye of not just the Cavaliers, but apparently the Phoenix Suns and other teams as well.
When asked about Gee's future in Cleveland and the Phoenix Suns' reported interest in him, FSO's Sam Amico said:
They'd like to keep him, ideally to bring off bench. But they won't overpay to do it. If they end up drafting a small forward, I'd could see them letting him sign elsewhere. I haven't been able to confirm Suns rumors, but he'd be a great fit there.
Gee played his best basketball for the Cavs this season, coming off the bench as a sixth or seventh man who could outscore, defend and out-hustle other teams second unit.
Gee is a restricted free agent, so the Cavs can match any offer he gets, but as Amico says, they won't overpay to do it.
My gut feeling is that Cleveland will bring him back next year, as they need help on the wing, and he's one of the most athletic players on the roster.
Anderson Varejao's name has popped up in trade rumors for the past couple seasons, but so far, nothing has come to fruition.
Varejao is one of the league's best post defenders when healthy. He had a career-making year last season before going down with a fractured wrist.
With a team friendly contract of two years, $17 million remaining and a team option for a third year, Varejao's name is sure to pop up in trade talks again, especially if the Cavs struggle early in the season.
FSO's Sam Amico laid out the Cavaliers' plans for Varejao, saying:
The plan is to keep him. He's a fan favorite, great to have around and is a borderline All-Star (albeit an unconventional one) when healthy. No one has offered anything close to equal value for him anyway. I doubt that will start now.
He did go on to say that he expects the Cavs to make a trade or two in the offseason, but nothing that would hurt the team financially.
The Cavaliers could look to move Luke Walton and his expiring $6.1 million contract for a team looking to clear cap space, and it would seem everyone on the roster except for Kyrie Irving, Tristan Thompson and possibly Varejao would be open for dealing.