Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo showed no mercy to his old teammate, Detriot’s Thon Maker in Game 2.
The Cleveland Cavaliers, known for arguably one of the greatest sporting comebacks in recent times, a comeback from 3-1 down over the Golden State Warriors in the 2016 NBA Final, now risk falling into irrelevance for the next decade.
The organisation has started the beginning of their rebuild; firing head coach Tyronn Lue and re-signing Kevin Love to a 4-year $120 million extension.
The Cavaliers have also offloaded Kyle Korver to the Utah Jazz for Alec Burks and two second-round picks in the 2020 and 2021 draft. This trade doesn’t improve their current roster, however, it gets the Cavaliers assets for their rebuild, and a step further along the journey ahead.
Cleveland have also been shopping around JR Smith, who had recently come out publicly with his desire to leave the organisation.
However the two-year $30.4 million price tag makes it difficult to move him off. After his mistake in Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals against Golden State, teams can hardly be blamed for not making offers for his services.
These kinds of brain-snaps, along with the price tag, make it very difficult to find a suitor for his services.
If the Cavaliers can free themselves of Smith, it would be a major win for the organisation. However, unless a team is willing to take him, it would appear that the Cavaliers may have to release him and pay the price; just as the Houston Rockets did with Carmelo Anthony.
Looking further into the roster, they require more depth in the small forward and power forward positions. They have an abundance of centres, some of whom can play as power forward, however it still leaves the small forward position lacking.
The shooting guards can also help fill this void, but it does spread the roster rather thin.
The addition of Matthew Dellavedova has reinvigorated an otherwise sluggish offence, however it requires more than just a motivated point guard to lift the Cavaliers.
The best course of action for the Cavaliers is to tank. I’m not saying they should tank like Philadelphia did, but if the Cavaliers can land the number one draft spot for the upcoming draft, they might not need to tank again.
Let’s take a look at the loaded 2019 draft class. Players such as Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett, Cam Reddish, Ja Morant, and Kevin Porter Jr are up for grabs and, if Cleveland can land just one of these players, they may not need to tank again.
Look at the Dallas Mavericks this season. Luka Doncic has been unreal for them and, although they sit at 20-24, the franchise looks as though they’ve got all the right pieces to move upwards.
Draft picks, salary cap space, and free agents are the ingredients the Cavaliers need to hasten the rebuilding process. All they can do now is gather assets, clear cap space, keep an eye on upcoming free agents, and tank. The alternative is they stay in the void LeBron James created when he left, and sink to mediocrity and irrelevance for the next decade.