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Cleveland Cavaliers Roster Will Still Need One or Two Additions with Kevin Love
This offseason has been one of, if not the biggest in the history of the Cleveland Cavaliers organization. After inking Kyrie Irving to a five-year extension, the Cavaliers landed the biggest fish on the market in LeBron James. If those two moves were not big enough to revive basketball in the city of Cleveland, rumors continue to swirl that the team will acquire All-Star big man, Kevin Love, once 30 days have passed after signing Andrew Wiggins to his rookie contract.
Though many Cavaliers fans are on the fence about trading the upside of Wiggins without first getting a long-term extension from Love, they upgrade he would bring to this roster is undeniable. After averaging 25.9 points and 12.4 rebounds per game last year, Love’s ability to stretch the floor, rebound and score at an elite level and willingly pass to his teammates will make the Cavaliers one of the toughest teams in the NBA to defend against.
Despite this fact, if the rumored trade of Wiggins, Anthony Bennett and a future first-round pick for Love does indeed happen, the Cavaliers roster will not be complete. Though Love majorly upgrades the Cavaliers at the power forward position, the roster still needs a few additions to truly complete this team in order to make a run at the NBA Finals.
Note: For the sake of this breakdown, we will not include John Lucas III, Malcolm Thomas or Erik Murphy who are expected to be dealt in order to make salaries match up to acquire Love. Also, we will remove Wiggins and Bennett from the roster and add in Love.
Point Guard Depth: Kyrie Irving/Dion Waiters/Matthew Dellavedova
As of right now, the Cavaliers will have to split their minutes at the point guard position between Irving, Waiters and Dellavedova. Irving is coming off a season in which he averaged 35 minutes per night, so the amount of leftover minutes is may not be enough to really warrant going out and getting another point guard. Add in the fact that Waiters can handle the ball quite well, and that makes the point guard position not a high priority at this time.
Priority Level: Low
Shooting Guard Depth: Dion Waiters/Mike Miller/Matthew Dellavedova/Joe Harris
Though Waiters only started 24 games last season, if Wiggins is dealt he will likely be vaulted back into the starting lineup. His ability to create and get to the hole will be something that forces defenses to not focus all their attention on Irving at point guard, and his toughness with the ball in his hands could be vaulted to the next level playing with a guy like James.
After Waiters, Miller is coming off a year in which he played 20.8 minutes per night, but he will be leaned upon in a purely backup role. Dellavedova showed off his ability to lock down Paul George last season, so do not be shocked if we see him on the floor as a shooting guard again.
Harris is a rookie who is known for his defensive toughness and ability to knock down an open shot, but his translation to the NBA is yet to be known.
Rumors have also been swirling that the Cavaliers will add Ray Allen in free agency if he decides to come back for one more year, which could push Harris out of the rotation—if he had a chance to be in it at all. Allen’s sharp-shooting nature would be the perfect addition to this team, but you shouldn’t expect more than 12 minutes per night out of him.
Priority Level: Low to none if Allen is added.
Small Forward Depth: LeBron James/James Jones/Mike Miller
For the last four years the Cavaliers have had a major asterisk next to their small forward position. Coincidentally, the player who created that void is the one who has filled it. A team doesn’t need a lot of depth behind James thanks to his ability to play major minutes, but the duo of Jones and Miller—who will slide down from shooting guard at times—will have no problem eating up those minutes.
Priority Level: None
Power Forward Depth: Kevin Love/Tristan Thompson/Dwight Powell
It is fun to think that just a year ago we were all wondering if the duo of Thompson and Bennett was enough to help the Cavaliers become the No. 8 seed, and now there is a possible reality of a duo of Love and Thompson. Love brings everything the Cavaliers crave at power forward, while Thompson brings his shot-blocking ability and fearlessness around the rim off the bench.
Powell likely will not be active, but the Cavaliers have the added bonus that Anderson Varejao can drop down and play power forward. On top of that, James has spent time at the position as well if the Cavaliers decide to go “small.”
Priority Level: None
Center Depth: Anderson Varejao/Tristan Thompson/Brendan Haywood
The center position is one of the few that could stand to use an addition even after the acquisition of Love. Varejao’s toughness and activity are great, but his injury history should scare every single Cavaliers fan. From there, Thompson gives up too much size to bigger centers and nobody really knows if Haywood has anything else left in the tank.
General manager David Griffin should be looking for a veteran big man with size who isn’t afraid to mix it up in the paint. With limited salary cap options, the Cavaliers will have to go bargain basement hunting but there are players out there who could fill this role pretty easily.
Priority Level: Moderate
At the end of the day, the Cavaliers will be fine if they add Love but it would be nice to have a little more veteran depth. When you look up and down the roster, there will still be a lot of key minutes being played by guys under the age of 25-years old who have zero playoff experience.
The addition of a veteran point guard and veteran center with playoff experience could do wonders for this roster as the season goes on, so do not be shocked if Griffin makes that his next order of business if/when the team acquires Love from Minnesota.
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