Cleveland Cavaliers' star LeBron James, in so many words, (actually five repeated over and over) made it no secret that he would like to see the Cavs make some moves.
In his post game interview following a tough series against the Boston Celtics, LeBron said, "We need to get better" repeatedly. He made reference to the many teams that performed well this year following big moves.
LBJ noticed the transformation of the Celtics, Lakers, Magic, Hornets, and a few others. He made it known to anyone listening he wants to be included on next year’s list of drastically improved teams.
The Cavs, who in my opinion, outplayed the Celtics took them to seven games. But they found out the hard way how important the regular season and home court in the playoffs can be. They lost a few hard fought battles in Boston and couldn't pull off one needed road win.
While the Cavs handily beat the Celtics at home in most of their games both regular and post-season, the Celtics’ regular season accomplishments gave them home court, which proved to essential to winning the series.
The Garden's history, and great fans gave the Celtics just enough umph to pull off a couple of nailbiters to send the Celtics on to the next round and the Cavs packing.
The Cavaliers do not have the salary cap space to sign a major free agent this offseason, so the only way to improve will have to be via trade. The rumors already seem to be flying and here are a couple of the latest names to hit the rumor mill.
Jermaine O'Neal - Once it was announced that O'Neal was not going to opt-out of the final two years of his contract, trade rumors dealing O'Neal quickly ensued. The said trade with Cleveland is O'Neal packaged with Indiana's 11th overall pick in the draft for Wally Szczerbiak and Eric Snow.
While looking at the players’ skills make the trade laughable, Indiana's almost imminent youth movement of rebuilding almost make this trade somewhat legit. With the new highly regarded value of the expiring contract which Snow who is likely to retire and Wally both possess.
Regardless of whether you buy the validity of the move or not, both sides are strongly denying any ongoing talks or interest in this move. The Cavs may not be interested in taking the risk of an injury prone player with a $22 million salary, while Indiana probably won't have much trouble dumping salaries before and/or during next season.
While Jermaine O'Neal becoming a Cavalier may be somewhat of a fairy tale, this next name may have a strong possibility of rocking wine and gold sometime next season.
Michael Redd - Mr. Redd has been on my radar as a real possibility ever since the Cavs’ mid-season blockbuster move. Milwaukee is looking to head in a completely different direction and Michael Redd and his $51 million still owed may just be one of their first steps in that direction.
I don't think anyone can come up with any valid arguments to why the Cavs would not be interested in finally supplying LeBron a legit number two man. It's said that Milwaukee has taken Redd off the table for any trades before the July 1st deadline, BUT this offseason is not when I had foreseen this move taking place.
Look for Cleveland to trade Wally Szczerbiak along with either Pavlovic or Gibson before the trading deadline this coming season. The Buck's would then have almost $20 million coming off their salary cap from Wally and a relatively young and cheap talent in Gibson or Pavlovic to fill in the newly freed up two spot.
With a long offseason and endless unknowns such as injuries, unhappy players, and disappointing beginnings, anything can happen in a new season. When you are speculating in June, all rumors are simply that, rumors.
But, when you’re a Cleveland sports fan, and your heart is repeatedly ripped out of your chest at the end of every season's finish, you find yourself daring to dream for countless days until the following year’s festivities begin.
Dare to dream though Cleveland, because with a superstar of LBJ's caliber, you never know who will want to be a part of the dream with us.