Top Free-Agent Targets for Cleveland Cavaliers This Summer
With the Cleveland Cavaliers expected to have $18 million in cap room this offseason, the team will have more money to spend than most in the league, and how they choose to use said cap space will affect them for years to come.
While the Chris Pauls and Dwight Howards of the world will have everyone's attention over the summer, many other players will be switching teams, and some impactful players could be wearing Cavaliers jerseys on opening day next year.
These are guys whom fans may desire, but there's no real way I see them in a Cavaliers uniform next year.
While he did recently choose to opt out of his deal and become an unrestricted free agent, he's going to command a hefty salary that I don't see the Cavaliers willing to pay. The team has carefully crafted their roster to have this cap space and won't be using it on a borderline All-Star. However, he would provide veteran leadership and tremendous defense to a team that needs both.
Another guy who would provide a veteran presence and stellar defense but very little on the offensive end. Allen has proven he can be a key contributor as a lockdown defender, but with Dion Waiters already starting, having Allen coming off the bench wouldn't make much sense, as his value comes in guarding the better players on each team.
The Cavaliers certainly have the money needed to sign him, but Tristan Thompson is already the power forward of the future, and Smith's behavior and inconsistencies make him quite a gamble.
Key Statistics: 16.3 PPG, 8.8 RPG, 0.8 BPG, .520 FG%
Whether Cavaliers fans like it or not, this is probably the biggest name the team will be tied to in the free-agent market.
It's been reported that the Cavaliers are interested in the Montenegrin big man, and it's obvious why. With Anderson Varejao only having one year left on his deal and his injury history, the Cavaliers should be looking for a center of the future. Nikola Pekovic has impressive numbers across the board and would be a great physical presence in the middle.
The NBA playoffs this year taught us that having an imposing center is a huge key to making a successful playoff run, as teams such as Indiana, Chicago, Memphis and San Antonio rode their big men deep into the postseason.
Pekovic is a restricted free agent, so the Minnesota Timberwolves would have the right to match any offer the Cavaliers present to the big man. However, with money already tied up to Kevin Love and a potential extension for Ricky Rubio, the Timberwolves may be willing to let Pekovic go if the price is too high.
The Cavaliers may have to overpay if they want Pekovic, but proven big men are often worth it.
Key Statistics: 10.9 PG, 4 RPG, 2 APG, 45.7 3PT%
Kyle Korver does one thing really well, and that's shooting three-pointers. In his 10 NBA seasons, Korver has shot more than 40 percent on threes seven times and led the league once with an astonishing 53.6 percent mark from three-point land.
For a team that sorely needs shooting, Korver would be a great acquisition. The Cavaliers ranked 22nd in the league in three-point percentage last season, a mark Korver could certainly help bring up. He's also versatile enough to play small forward or shooting guard and can contribute as a starter or a key bench player.
Key Statistics: 12.1 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 1.4 SPG
Corey Brewer is probably one of the more well-rounded players in the NBA. While he has an above-average offensive game, Brewer is better known for his stellar defense.
Defense is new Cavaliers coach Mike Brown's specialty, and you know he will want to bring in some guys who excel in the less glamorous half of the game. The Cavaliers ranked 23rd in points allowed per game last season and have no one to guard the premier wing players in the league.
Key Statistics: 9.2 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 37.4 3PT%
Here's another guy whose speciality is shooting threes. Dorell Wright has cooled down a bit since his breakout 2010-11 season when he averaged 16.4 points per game and led the league in three-pointers made, but that doesn't mean he can't still stroke it from behind the arc.
And with Wright's height (6'9"), he can play solid defense at small forward and would have a great time getting open shots with Kyrie Irving running the point.
Key Statistics: 12.9 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 5.6 APG, 40.4 3PT%
If the Cavaliers are willing to spend the money needed, Jarrett Jack would be a fantastic acquisition. With Shaun Livingston entering free agency, the Cavaliers have no backup point guard, and Jack would fit in nicely there, as he was the sixth man for this year's surprising Golden State Warriors team. He has enough offensive skill to lead the second unit and the ability to get a hot hand.
Jack is pretty weak on the defensive end, and it's fair to question whether this team needs another defensively challenged guard. However, his scoring punch and acceptance of a sixth man role may make this a fair roll of the dice.
Key Statistics: 12.9 PPG, 6.2 APG, 1.0 SPG, 38.3 3PT%
A Mo Williams-Cavaliers reunion would be beneficial to both sides. For the Cavaliers, they get a good three-point shooter with a scoring punch who can play both point guard and shooting guard. This aspect is especially important because Williams would likely be the team's sixth man, with enough offensive prowess to carry the second unit and versatility to play either guard position depending on how the rest of the roster fills out.
For Williams, much less would be asked of him this time around than his last stint in Cleveland, when he was the team's second option behind LeBron James and the star of the team when James left for Miami.
Williams plays better with less pressure on him, so if he were willing to accept a lesser role on a team building toward contention, he would find himself in a great place.
Key Statistics: 4.5 PPG, 2.8 APG
As has been stated in previous slides, the Cavaliers need a backup point guard. They could find a good one in Eric Maynor, who was once viewed as a very valuable piece to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Recent injuries have seen his stock fall quite a bit, so it's possible he could be acquired for relatively cheap.
Additionally, it appears the Portland Trailblazers will allow Maynor to become an unrestricted free agent, making signing him much more possible.
If his stint with the Trailblazers means anything, Maynor could be back to figuring out his game from his early days with the Thunder. Maynor increased his scoring (6.9 points) and assists (4.0) while playing backup to Damian Lillard for the Trailblazers.
As a guy who already accepts coming off the bench, Maynor could be a great value.
Key Statistics: 7.3 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 1.2 SPG, 47.5 FG%
Al-Farouq Aminu had a very nice year for the now-Pelicans, seeing his statistics in every major category increase. While he's still developing an offensive game, his defense on the wing would be a wonderful addition to Cleveland. His rebounding comes in as just an added bonus.
At only 22 years old, Aminu still has a lot of time to grow as a basketball player. For a team sorely lacking impact players on defense, Aminu could contribute right away while working on the offensive side of the ball. At the right price he could be a real steal, as he has the potential to be a great role player.
Key Statistics: 14.1 PPG, 2.2 RPG, 3.8 APG, 36.6 3PT%
If the Cavaliers are looking to spend solid money in free agency, J.J. Redick could be a good guy to splurge on. He would instantly contribute to two of the team's most important needs: three-point shooting and scoring.
However, Redick does come with his negatives. His defensive game is below average, and the Cavaliers guards are already poor on defense to begin with. It would also remain to be seen whether he'd be willing to come off the bench, even though he did for most of his time in Milwaukee.
Even with his downfalls, Redick would provide the shooting and scoring this team severely needs.
Key Statistics: 15.5 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 2.6 APG, 1.0 SPG, 44.7 FG%
While he doesn't provide the three-point shooting Redick would, Gerald Henderson could have an even bigger impact scoring the ball. He was second on the Charlotte Bobcats last season in scoring and is a solid defender.
Henderson is another player who is a restricted free agent, so the Bobcats could match any offer the Cavaliers give him. With how well he's played specifically the past two seasons, it's plausible to think the Bobcats would match any reasonable offer to him, but he's still a guy the Cavaliers should take a long look at.