The rebuild of the Cleveland Cavaliers continued in the past week with the acquisition of two more young players. And they also continue to add wing players, which should make for great competition during training camp.
Last week, they signed David Nwaba, who played for the Chicago Bulls a year ago, as a free agent.
Nwaba is 6’4″ and will start the season at 25 years old. He averaged 7.9 points per game playing 23.5 minutes a night, including 21 starts. He also gathered almost five rebounds per game, and was one of the Bulls’ better defenders.
On Sunday, GM Koby Altman traded a trade exemption to the Los Angeles Clippers for former first round draft pick Sam Dekker, who is 6’9″ and just 24 years old.
Dekker, who played the first two years of his career in Houston, saw a loss of playing time with LA, dropping from 18 minutes per game with the Rockets, to just 12 with the Clips.
His three point percentage also dropped from 32% in 2016-17, to just 16% last season.
He is certainly worth a gamble, especially because the Cavs gave up nothing to take a look at him.
These pick ups are just an example of the wine and gold collecting a bunch of young players and hoping at least a few of them will become the core of the next playoff team in Cleveland.
They have surrounded Kevin Love with a bunch of athletic players in their mid-twenties. In addition to Nwaba and Dekker, you also have rookie first round pick Collin Sexton (19), Larry Nance Jr (25), Cedi Osman (23), Ante Zizic (21), Rodney Hood (26 at the start of the season), and Jordan Clarkson (26).
And don’t forget another rookie in Billy Preston (21 shortly after the season starts).
Coach Tyronn Lue has always talked about playing faster, but the Cavaliers ranked 12th in pace this past season and they were 15th the previous season. When your roster is headed by a superstar in his early 30’s, and he is surrounded by veterans, it is tough to play fast.
That will no longer be a factor in this season. Our guess is that this season’s edition of the Cavs will feature pushing the ball at all times, looking for easy baskets.
It will be a season of learning and judgment for the coach and GM, trying to figure out who has a future with the Cavs and who won’t be able to fit in with Lue and Altman’s vision.
Make no mistake, there are more roster moves coming. There are rumors that Altman is shopping two more veterans. Kyle Korver, still a threat from long distance, but now 37 years old, is rumored to be heading to Philadelphia, and JR Smith, who will turned 33 years old next month, has been talked about in a deal with Houston.
We also would not be surprised if Tristan Thompson is elsewhere when the season opens in mid October, but only if another big man comes in return.
Don’t forget, they have Love, Frye, Nance, and Preston who can play the four, and we are sure they want to get Zizic more time at the five.
On the other hand, they may pair Thompson with Love/Frye, and team up Zizic with Nance. Our guess is Preston plays a lot in Canton.
If nothing else, this year’s Cavs will be interesting to watch at the start of the season. The question is, will they win enough early on to stay interesting.