It is beginning to seem like the same old song for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
They have multiple picks in the draft, have plenty of salary cap space, are involved in a bunch of trade rumors, and then do nothing.
Yes, we know the off-season is far from over, and there is plenty of time for GM Chris Grant to make big moves to improve his basketball team. Heck, last season’s biggest trade, that of James Harden to Houston, didn’t occur until a couple of days before the regular season started.
But it seems like the same ol’ song for the wine and gold.
Owner Dan Gilbert publicly proclaimed this was the last draft lottery his team would be involved in after winning the first pick, but right now, the Cavs don’t look any closer to a playoff team than they did the day the season ended in the middle of April.
Grant has accumulated a lot of young talented players, most notably Kyrie Irving, but also Tristan Thompson, Dion Waiters, Tyler Zeller, and new first round pick Anthony Bennett. Still, they lack a legitimate small forward, and a true center.
You want power forwards? Then Cleveland should be where you search with Thompson, Bennett, Anderson Varejao, and free agent signee Earl Clark all on the roster. Obviously, Mike Brown can play one of those guys at center, but they would be out of position.
The problem is year after year, fans are told that the Cavs are acquiring assets, getting draft picks and cap space so they can be a player in major trades, much like the Celtics were when they traded for Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen.
With all the player moves made around the league in the past week, the wine and gold sat idle, while supporters called for patience and understanding.
Al Jefferson, a proven NBA center went to Charlotte, the league’s worst team for three years and an estimated $41 million.
Grant’s defenders immediately pointed out it was a bad contract. On the other hand, the Cavs are paying Varejao $8 million per year to mostly not play.
Jefferson is 28 years old, hasn’t missed more than five games in a season in the last four years, and is a career 16 points, 9 rebounds a year guy. He will be 32 when the contract ends. He couldn’t help the Cavs?
Enough of the talk about cap space! It is meaningless if no one wants to take your money, and if you study free agent movement in the NBA, no high-profile player is coming here as a free agent.
They didn’t when LeBron James was here (although part of that was his fault), and they aren’t going to come now.
The best bet for a big man now is a poison pill contract offer to restricted free agent Nikola Pekovic, a 6’11” center from the Timberwolves. He averaged 16.3 points and 8.8 rebounds with Minnesota last season, and is one of the leading free agents still available.
There has also been talk of how Dwight Howard’s signing in Houston may make Omar Asik available. He averaged 10 points and almost 12 boards for the Rockets last season. He makes almost $15 million next season.
The point here is all of the losing is getting old, and the promises of getting better are even older.
The Cavs need some veteran players to teach and help the young guys to win. Having a bunch of young players and hoping they will figure it out has only worked once in recent memory (Oklahoma City).
If Gilbert and Grant want to get basketball fans in Cleveland excited, they need to do more than talk. And they need to make a good move, not just one for the sake of making one.
Cavalier fans are tired of talk. They want something to get this team back in playoffs not just for 2013-14, but for a while.