Brian Windhorst of the Cleveland Plain Dealer described the loss of Lebron James to that of a nuclear bomb going off in the city.
In the aftermath of his departure now the Cavaliers have been left with a crater of a hole in their roster. In his passionate and controversial statement to Cavaliers fans in the heat of the moment owner Dan Gilbert proclaimed his franchise would win a title before the "self-titled former 'king'". While probably not a realistic expectation, to even be competitive moving forward in this star powered NBA the Cavaliers must make a move to acquire a player who can fill their vacant franchise player role.
Here's five players whom the Cavaliers could aquire via trade to conceivably fill that void and become the next face of the franchise post-Lebron.
The Timberwolves have been rumored to be shopping Jonny Flynn with the prospects of potentially facing a logjam at the point-guard position if Ricky Rubio ever decides to show up as well as having brought in Ramon Sessions from the Bucks who emerged late last season.
As a rookie Flynn quietly averaged 13.5 points, and 4.5 assists a game being overshadowed by his rookie counterparts Brandon Jennings and Tyreke Evans. Make no mistake though the former number six overall pick out of Syracuse is as skilled a young guard as we have in the league.
At worst he could develop into another version of Andre Miller for this Cavs team and be a shining light on a bad club a la the late 90's, early 2000's pre-Lebron.
Another Timberwolve that the Cavaliers have been rumored to be actively pursuing in a trade is center Al Jefferson.
At 6'10 he can be a defensive liability at the 5 position and has been slowed in recent years by numerous knee injuries, however when healthy he is arguably one of the more gifted offensive big men in the game.
In the 76 games he played last season he nearly averaged a double-double scoring 17 a game and bringing in 9 boards. Coming straight out of high school he was declared by many a can't miss stud, at this point however he's somewhat more of a risk-reward commodity. At age 25 he should just be entering his prime.
If he can stay healthy and preform consistently the Cavaliers could have stolen away a supremely skilled big man akin to the poor man's Amare Stoudemire.
When the 76ers took Evan Turner with the number two overall pick last month the general consensus around the league became that Philadelphia would pursue options to move their other shooting guard Andre Iguodala.
Iguodala, a former number-nine overall pick is an explosive yet extremely streaky player who's averaged 15-5-5 over the course of his five-year career. He has the potential to become a household name but people close to him have often questioned his attitude and work ethic. Without question though he is a talented player who would give the Cavs a scoring threat on the wing to replace some of Lebron's production.
However for Philadelphia's asking price as a Cavs fan I'd much prefer that the team first explores other options considering the baggage that accompanies him doesn't make him necessarily the most attractive piece to build around long-term.
Of all of the possible scenarios I've heard thrown around this is the one that got my ears perked up. Granger is the Indiana Pacers franchise player. The Pacers play in the Central division with the Cavaliers. So there's no chance this happens right? Not so fast.
On draft night the Pacers almost shipped Granger to the New Jersey Nets for Devin Harris. Rumor around the league is the Pacers might be willing to move him in a package that, among other things, would get them back a scoring point guard (such as a Mo Williams). Now as much as I love Mo I'd be ecstatic if the Cavaliers could pull the wool over general manager Dave Morway's eyes and steal away Danny Granger whom I consider to be Kevin Durant lite.
The 17th overall pick of the 2005 draft is a one time all-star who this past season developed into perhaps the purest young scorer this side of that aforementioned Durant guy averaging 24 ppg on 42 percent shooting.
In addition to that though there's another reason to like this kid. Over the course of his career he's proven to be a great antagonist in his match-ups with Lebron. I know it's a long-shot but the possibility of getting a guy like Granger who could revive the team in the wake of his rival Lebron would be just such poetic justice.
While we're on the topic of far-fetched scenarios how about the possibility of getting his decade's best point guard to replace his decade's greatest player? Could Chris Paul really end up in Cleveland? It would all be dependent on the Hornets ownership being really, really, really stupid.
Right now the team is in the middle of a sale and the franchise is looking to slash costs everywhere. With the emergence of rookie Darren Collision, who's younger and cheaper than Paul, rumors swirled that now the 3x All-Star All-NBA point guard was on the block. Hornets management shot down those rumors only to have Paul himself put himself back on the block threatening to force his way out if the New Orleans franchise does not wholly show they are committed to winning first and foremost, however it seems as if ownership has still yet to oblige.
Now is Cleveland an attractive market Paul might want to force himself to? Probably not, however the Cavaliers hiring of Byron Scott who has a strong bond with the point-guard does increase their attractiveness in a potential trade scenario. Paul is the absolute definition of a franchise player and if the Cavaliers could land him they would not only immediately be competitive again, but title contenders at that.
Now a Christmas Story was filmed in Cleveland but I don't know if the Hornets could possibly afford to give the Cavaliers that kind of gift.
Dan Gilbert might've been caught up in the moment, but in his statements in the aftermath of The Lebacle he has been confident. To sound as confident as he has he must be aware of some contingency plan new GM Chris Grant has in place to get a player and get one now.
It'll all begin with correctly identifying and acquiring this new franchise player to build around into the future. Any of the five players aforementioned could be the solution. Whatever they decide to do could determine the direction of the franchise for years to come.
Any players I missed? I want to hear your thoughts on these possibilities.