What Offseason Moves Are Next for Cleveland Cavs with NBA Draft Complete?

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What Offseason Moves Are Next for Cleveland Cavs with NBA Draft Complete?
Kathy Willens/Associated Press

The NBA draft is finally over, and the Cleveland Cavaliers walked away from it with the type of talent every single team in the league wishes it could have.

This, of course, is reference to first overall selection Andrew Wiggins, a fast-twitching ball of elastic who, before playing his first NBA game, is already one of the 20 most athletic players in the league.

Beyond that, the team grabbed Virginia sharpshooter Joe Harris with the 33rd overall pick and hopeful stretch 4 Dwight Powell from Stanford. Cleveland also traded for journeyman center Brendan Haywood, but he didn't play a game last season and will turn 35 in November.

Here’s The Plain Dealer’s Terry Pluto on what general manager David Griffin is looking for as he hunts for talent and what he already acquired in the draft:

The Cavs second-rounder Joe Harris fits into what General Manager David Griffin is trying to build—players whose skills are needed. Top pick Andrew Wiggins should deliver the athleticism the Cavs need at small forward. Then there's Harris, a 6-foot-6 wing player from Virginia. He has one obvious NBA skill—shooting the ball. Harris shot exactly 40 percent from 3-point range this season, and it's 41 percent for his four-year career in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Even more important to the Cavs is that Harris is a "low usage" player. He doesn't need to handle the ball often to be effective. He is very good at moving without the ball—running around screens to create open shots. He is a "catch-and-shoot" player, meaning just that—he catches and shoots the ball, and does it quickly.

Overall, the draft was probably a win. But that’s just step one in a team-building process that never actually stops. So, what do the slightly less-hapless Cavaliers look like now, and how should they try to fill out the rest of their roster this summer? Let’s take a look.

 

Backcourt

Mark Duncan/Associated Press

We’ll start in the backcourt, where Wiggins (a shooting guard) Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters and Jarrett Jack remain.

It feels highly unlikely all of the latter three are still on this roster at the beginning of training camp, and one of the first things Griffin should do is shop around Waiters and Jack. (Australian point guard Matthew Dellavedova is on a non-guaranteed contract that could cost a little over $800K. He could remain as well.)

It wouldn’t hurt to gauge Irving’s market value (do they want to pay him the max?), but chances are Cleveland is much better off keeping the reigning All-Star Game MVP.

Per ESPN.com’s Marc Stein, Jack has already been linked to Brooklyn Nets guard Marcus Thornton in a deal that would save Cleveland long-term money (Thornton’s an expiring contract) without taking a major step backward in terms of talent.

Jack is 30, and he averaged nearly five less points per 100 possessions in his first year with the Cavs than the previous season in Golden State. He won’t be getting better and still has at least two years and $12.6 million on his contract—there’s a third year worth an additional $6.3 million, but it’s non-guaranteed for $500K if he’s waived before June 30, 2016.

This area of the team has talent but needs to be cleaned up.

 

Small Forward

David J. Phillip/Associated Press

With Luol Deng likely to leave town, and Alonzo Gee gone to the Charlotte Hornets for Haywood and Powell on draft night, the Cavaliers could really use some help on the perimeter. Preferably a player who can score.

The most obvious options are LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, but those two don’t appear interested in joining a rebuilding team that has more questions than answers.

There are two other routes the Cavs can take: 1) They can throw a large offer sheet at a restricted free agent like Gordon Hayward or Chandler Parsons, or 2) They can try and nab a quality, albeit aging, veteran to come in and provide two-way stability.

The options for the latter figure to be less pricey and include the likes of Paul Pierce, Shawn Marion, Vince Carter (more for his ability to score than his ability to defend), Trevor Ariza, P.J. Tucker and Marvin Williams.

Hayward and Parsons probably aren’t leaving their respective teams, the Utah Jazz and Houston Rockets. And signing them to long-term deals eats up at future cap space that Cleveland should want.

It seems then that luring someone like Marion or Williams with a bloated two- or three-year contract may be the most probable outcome. It isn’t the smartest thing in the world, but guys like that will provide veteran leadership in a locker room completely unfamiliar with the word.

Harris, the rookie, could slide in as a backup, but he’s only 6’6” and can’t be a serious option if the playoffs are Cleveland’s goal. Wiggins is a possibility at small forward next season, but Griffin is opposed to the idea as a long-term solution.

 

Frontcourt

David Zalubowski/Associated Press

Cleveland’s frontcourt is a jumbled mess, particularly at power forward where Anthony Bennett, Tristan Thompson, Tyler Zeller and—if his contract isn’t bought out—Anderson Varejao are all hanging out.

The Cavs could use some rim protection, but the market here is scarce.

Unless they were willing to surrender a protected 2016 first-round pick for Larry Sanders (a similar trade to the one that just took place between the Houston Rockets and New Orleans Pelicans for Omer Asik), it's unlikely Cleveland gets a dominant Defensive Player of the Year candidate patrolling the paint. 

It could throw big money at Marcin Gortat, but that's unwise for a team that isn't prepared to win big right now. 

Mark Duncan/Associated Press

Despite all its cap space and the constant rumors involving LeBron, the rest of Cleveland's offseason could be a quiet one. The Cavaliers will test the market for Waiters and Jack, but neither player figures to bring back anything of great value.

Trades involving Thompson and Bennett are also possible, but again, they aren't getting much in return for either young player.

Small forward is a need and so is center (if Varejao is no longer around), but the Cavaliers should fill those holes with stopgap replacements and instead focus on developing Irving and Wiggins as their dynamic duo of the future.

 

All statistics in this article are from Basketball-Reference.com or NBA.com/Stats unless otherwise noted. 

Michael Pina covers the NBA for Bleacher Report, Sports on Earth, Fox Sports, ESPN’s TrueHoop Network, Grantland and elsewhere. His writing can be found here. Follow him @MichaelVPina. 

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