There is no question the city of Cleveland and northeast Ohio is having a love affair with their newly crowned NBA champions.
We think that by now, every person in the area has at least one shirt proclaiming the Cavaliers as champs based on seeing people walk around malls and other public venues.
We think if folks around here bumped into a member of the team, they would respond by giving them a huge hug, and that includes a shirtless JR Smith.
However, it’s now the off-season, and the worst thing a defending champion should do is stand pat, there has to be a couple of tweaks to the roster, as upsetting as that will be to the average fan, who now has an emotional attachment to everyone on the squad.
Now, there won’t be changes to the team’s core. LeBron James said he will be back to defend the title, and it is doubtful that the starting five will be altered, even though Smith is a free agent.
Our guess is that the team and Smith will work out a deal this summer to keep the sniper in wine and gold.
It also means that Kevin Love will be back too. We said it during The Finals and will say it again. Love may be a bad match up vs. Golden State (although Cleveland played better with him on the floor in Games 5 and 7), but he is a very good player against the 28 other NBA teams.
Remember, he did average 16 points and 10 rebounds a game in the regular season, and he’s not as bad a defender as people think.
The changes should come in the second five.
Matthew Dellavedova has been valuable and a crowd favorite in his time here, but if another organization is going to offer him $8-10 million per year to play, we can’t see the Cavs matching that.
We feel the organization thinks Jordan McRae can be a contributor next season with his length and scoring ability, and he can play point guard too. And he’s long at 6’6″.
The way the NBA plays these days, the guys who are 6’6″ – 6’8″ and can defend around the perimeter as gold. Teams can switch defensively with those guys without penalty.
And don’t forget that Delly seemed to lost confidence in his shot as the playoffs progressed.
Also, the one player GM David Griffin drafted Thursday night was a point guard, Kay Felder.
He will always have a special place here because of his role on the championship team, but the Cavs’ front office might be willing to move on.
Also, Timofey Mozgov is a free agent and depending on what he is offered around the league, he probably won’t be back. At his size, someone will make him a big offer.
The Cavaliers will have to replace him as well, as they will need a rim protector at times, and you need five big men to get through the regular season.
If the Cavs were to make a deal, perhaps Iman Shumpert may be the player they are willing to trade. He’s a very good defender, but his offensive game regressed this season, and he was very prone to turnovers in the playoffs.
His salary could be a trade chip if Griffin and Tyronn Lue want to get a little more length on the perimeter, one of those 6’6″-6’8″ guys.
There will definitely be some tweaks to the roster before training camp opens this fall. That’s the way it has to be.
Coaches and GM’s can’t fall in love with a roster the way that fans do after a title.