The Cleveland Cavaliers are sitting at 38-14 on the season, the best record in the Eastern Conference and the fourth best record in the entire NBA, yet it appears GM David Griffin is trying to improve his team.
Many fans and members of the media are wondering why a team with this kind of record would be willing to tinker with the roster, but really, a good GM should always be looking to improve his team. That’s his biggest responsibility.
At this point in the year, Griffin has to be worried about a possible date in The Finals against Golden State, but also has to be prepared for a scenario where the Spurs or the Thunder come out of the Western Conference.
And all of this while making sure the Cavs superiority in the East isn’t threatened either.
It’s a delicate balance for Griffin.
Tyronn Lue’s team could use another reliable threat from three point range, and could also use some help on the defensive end, particularly on the perimeter.
And the drop off of Timofey Mozgov’s game has necessitated not only the exploration of moving the free agent to be, but also replacing the big man if a deal involving Mozgov is made.
Because, you know, if Cleveland gets to the championship round, they may just play San Antonio.
What Griffin can’t be sure of is the transition going as smoothly as last season’s when the general manager made deals for Mozgov, Iman Shumpert, and JR Smith within a one week span.
It only took a few games for the Cavs to gel and make a run to a Central Division title and an Eastern Conference championship.
As we said at the end of the regular season last year, most transitions have an adjustment period attached, and there is no guarantee it will occur again.
So, what should Griffin do?
An easy response would be to stand pat. After all, your team is 24 games over .500 and if not for what the Warriors are doing, no one would be panicking. The Cavaliers are still regarded as one of four teams with a solid chance at hoisting the Larry O’Brien Trophy.
We wouldn’t have an issue if no changes were made, either. But, then it would be up to the coaching staff to fix some of the issues the Cavs have that need fixing. And please don’t take that as a possible slight to Lue and his staff.
However, it wouldn’t be the end of the world if Griffin tinkered with players outside of the top seven or eight in Lue’s rotation.
For example, moving Mo Williams, who is barely getting on the court right now, for a bigger wing defender would be a solid move and wouldn’t upset rotations and chemistry.
The same would be true with Richard Jefferson. We don’t believe anyone would be upset if you could swap him for a more reliable three point threat.
Making a deal would also send a message within the locker room that the front office hasn’t lost faith in the core players and they believe this team can win the franchise’s first title.
The talk about major changes should be just that. And if the wine and gold don’t get to The Finals, or get blown out once there, perhaps a major change will be made this summer.
But for right now, making a minor addition would be just fine.