Even though the Cleveland Cavaliers just ended their season after getting swept in the NBA Finals, it is still a busy time for the franchise.
The NBA Draft is next Thursday, and of course, the Cavs have the 8th overall pick, a result of the Kyrie Irving trade last summer.
There is also the free agency period which starts on July 1st.
Oh, and there is the whole will LeBron James decide to stay with the franchise or will he go through the free agency process once again.
So, the wine and gold are one of the last two teams standing and yet the next three to four weeks are critical to the future of the franchise.
Unless they hear something differently, they should use this period to show James the best place to win, right now and in the future is right here with the Cavaliers.
How do they do that? First, listen to what he was saying prior to and after Game 4 of The Finals. He repeatedly said he liked playing with guys who have high basketball IQs. How many guys do the Cavs have like that?
We would say Kevin Love is one. Larry Nance Jr. is another. From hearing James’ comments throughout the season, we believe he holds Cedi Osman in high regard.
George Hill is a playmaker, good shooter, and solid defender.
Kyle Korver and Jose Calderon are cerebral players too, but are a little long in the tooth to be productive NBA players on a nightly basis any more.
Are we missing anyone who you would consider is a smart player? And being a hard worker or skilled in a particular area is not the same as being cerebral on the court.
So, GM Koby Altman has about two weeks to make some moves that would entice James to stay in northeast Ohio and try to lead the Cavs to a fifth consecutive NBA Finals. And we would bet he would want a roster that could finish the deal, and not just win one game against the Warriors over the past two years.
Many of said the Cavs can’t do anything because of their salary cap situation and lack of expiring contracts. However, they do have the 8th pick in the draft. And remember, teams all over the NBA will give up good players for the chance to get great ones.
These same people said Altman wouldn’t be able to do anything about the roster at the trade deadline, and instead, he turned over 40% of the roster.
Nobody is saying it is easy, and no doubt the Cavs’ front office will have to be very creative and flexible to get something substantial done before the free agent period starts.
What we would not do is accept that James is leaving and start preparing for life after LeBron. Look, it is really simple. If James is on the team, the Cavaliers are a contender for the Larry O’Brien Trophy, without him, they are probably bound for the draft lottery.
Until LeBron or his representatives tell Dan Gilbert and Koby Altman that he has decided to play elsewhere in 2018-19, the Cavs need to make the roster something James will want to return to.
Plus, if you do that and he does decide to move on, you can always trade some of the veterans for young players and/or draft picks.
It should be an interesting two weeks. And hopefully there is a new deal at the end for James, keeping him in wine and gold for a few more years.