If the Cleveland Cavs keep the same team they have going into the future, nothing is going to change for them. They will continue to make the NBA Finals because of how great LeBron James is, but will keep losing to the Golden State Warriors.
The team they have in place simply is not good enough to take on all of Golden State’s star power. The addition of Kevin Durant made it that much more difficult to beat the team who previously won 73 games in the regular season.
Durant was the obvious x-factor and MVP of the Finals and there was nothing Cleveland could do to stop him. It took a record night for the Cavs to steal one game against the Warriors when they won 137-116.
Golden State put up scores of 113, 132, 118, 116 and 129. Durant averaged 35.2 points, 8.2 rebounds and 5.4 assists in the series while shooting 55.6 percent from the field and 47.4 percent from behind the arc. The Cavs’ defense had no answer for Golden State’s offense.
This makes it absolutely necessary for Cleveland to make a splash in this offseason. They need to get younger and more talented, which is crazy to think considering all the talent they already have between James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love.
The Cavs have to face reality. James is 32. J.R. Smith is 31. Richard Jefferson is 36. Channing Frye is 33. They aren’t getting any younger.
This class of free agents is loaded with talent. It features names like Blake Griffin, Chris Paul, Steph Curry, Gordon Hayward, Kyle Lowry and Paul Millsap. The only problem is that all of those guys are going to be seeking max contracts, and Cleveland has almost no money to spend. Their free agents are Dahntay Jones, James Jones, Kyle Korver, Deron Williams and Derrick Williams. That does not free up a ton of cap space to make the splash they need.
Not all of those guys will fit in with Cleveland either. Griffin is injury prone. Curry will stay with Golden State. They don’t need any of the other point guards either because Irving is already ball-dominant as it is. Moving him to the other guard and not getting the ball in his hands would hurt him and the team.
James is going to have to convince some guys to come to Cleveland for cheap. Either that or the Cavs will have to make a big trade. They were in talks to get Jimmy Butler, but he got moved to Minnesota.
They have also been in talks about getting Paul George. With George becoming a free agent soon, there is some risk involved in getting him. Indiana isn’t going to just give their face of the franchise away either. The Cavs are going to have to make it a sweet deal that will most likely have Kevin Love involved. The Cavs really don’t want to lose stars like Love either though.
It has been reported that Indiana does not want Love anyway. They are looking for young players and draft picks, which is something Cleveland can’t offer.
Not having David Griffin in the front office is going to hurt the team as well. He was so good at making trades. The Cavs won almost every deal he made. Not having Griffin to work his magic is going to make a trade for a star a little tougher.
It was reported that Cleveland was in a blockbuster trade that would send George and Carmelo Anthony their way. However, none of the teams involved wanted Kevin Love.
George may be Cleveland’s best bet. If they are going to bring him to Cleveland, they need to find a third team who would be willing to take Love and give Indiana draft picks and young players. After they trade Love, they will need to sign another free agent so they have four stars to compare to Golden State’s four stars.
Trading for George and signing another star is going to be what it takes to beat Golden State. Otherwise, Cleveland will continue to lose in the finals.
I know what you’re thinking. Why does LeBron James need another superstar? Super teams are hurting the NBA. Why doesn’t the NBA do something about this new era?
Well, this is reality. James is facing far better competition than Michael Jordan ever faced in the Finals. To win titles, you have to do what it takes to win. This is simply what it takes to win in this era of the NBA. If you aren’t a super team, you have no chance. Cleveland and Golden State is also a rivalry that could be comparable to the Celtics and Lakers when it is all said and done.
How the NBA can fix its super team problem is another story for another day though. But the bottom line is the Cavs need to get better and younger if they want to compete with Golden State in the upcoming years.
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