Starting this June, the Cleveland Cavaliers will be in full rebuilding mode. General Manager Chris Grant is armed with four draft picks and a very large $14 million trade exception that will expire in July.
Well that’s not the case.
Making poor draft choices and trades this summer could make the situation a lot worse.
With two high draft choices and a large majority of our team still under contract, I don’t see the Cavaliers getting worse.
But how much better can the team get after one summer? That will be entirely up to management, because they have two different options.
The first option is upgrading the roster by using only draft picks and then trading away some of the veterans like Antawn Jamison and/or role players like Daniel Gibson who don’t fit into Cleveland’s future.
This would allow the young players to get time playing together in Byron Scott’s system. More importantly, this would keep our overall record around the same as it was this year.
That might not sound too exciting, but it will give the Cavs a chance to draft high next year and possibly the year after. Imagine a team built around Kyrie Irving (compared to Chris Paul), 2012 draft prospect Jared Sullinger (compared to Kevin Love), and 2013 draft prospect Andre Drummond (compared to Dwight Howard).
The second option is trying to upgrade the roster to make a run at the playoffs in 2012.
With a great coach like Scott and a healthy season from our core guys, it is definitely a possibility. In the NBA, a team needs nine solid rotation players and a good coach to make the playoffs.
To be an elite playoff team, you need two to four of those players to be All-Stars. With Antawn Jamison, Baron Davis, Ramon Sessions, Anderson Varejao, J.J. Hickson and two Top Ten picks in the draft, the Cavs potentially have seven solid playoff rotation players.
Chris Grant could use the $14 million trade exception to fill in the eighth spot and a combination of our other players (Daniel Gibson, Luke Harangody, Christian Eyenga, etc.) could be packaged for the ninth player.
Personally, I like the first option. I would rather suffer for two to three seasons and then have a dynasty. Being a low-seeded playoff team just won’t cut it for me. The following slideshow will give realistic moves the Cavaliers’ management can make this summer to set the team up for future success.