You wouldn’t think that LeBron James would bounce again once his contract is up next season, but who knows: he’s already done what he set out to do in Cleveland and that’s bring them a world championship.
And if he’s not satisfied with that, and needs another one… and if he thinks he can’t compete with Golden State where he is, maybe he will go someplace else. And if he does, hopefully, he doesn’t bag it all up and make the announcement on live T.V.
So if they want to prevent that from happening they better surround him with the pieces necessary to compete with the Warriors. Because he clearly doesn’t have them now.
But that’s not going to be easy to do… In fact, exactly who’s going to do it? Probably not gm David Griffin, whose contract expires in about a month. If he were the guy, wouldn’t they have taken care of him by now.? And if it’s not Griffin making the tough decisions, who’s it going to be?.
And once you settle on who that person is, what’s his plan?. Given how jacked their salary cap situation is right now, what do they do to put themselves in a position where they can compete with the Warriors? You have to bust up the big three, obviously. The way I see it, they really don’t have a choice.
And if you do that, who’s the one to go?. It’s obviously not LeBron. Nor should it be Kyrie Irving. He’s not the problem. And you’ll never get equal value for him anyway. The guy who has to go, is Kevin Love. Not because he’s a problem; he’s not but they can’t compete with, much less beat Golden State the way they’re currently constructed and Love is their most expendable asset, the guy most likely to bring the most in return without wrecking the team in the process.
They can’t waste what’s left of LeBron’s prime and, they have to give him a good reason to want to re-up after next season; and the only way to do that is to trade one of the big three. And Love is the guy.
Trading Kyrie doesn’t make sense… And you’re not going to get anything that matters for J.R. Smith or Tristan Thompson, so Love is the odd man out.
And what do they need to put them in position to compete with Golden State? Better defense. Someone who actually who has even shot a guarding Kevin Durant. Because the only guy they have now who fits that description is LeBron himself. And having him work that hard on that end is beating him down and wearing him out; that’s why you saw him gas out at the end of games in the finals. And why he didn’t last year.
That’s because he only had to concern himself with Harrison Barnes. Not Durant. Which is why Golden State brought him in. To deal with LeBron and the Cavs.
And now the Cavs have to deal with him. You don’t ask LeBron to deal with him exclusively not when the Warriors can run four different guys at LeBron and you don’t ask Richard Jefferson and Iman Shumpert to deal with Durant because you know how that’s going to go. They need to get better defensively, and they need to find someone with the length, athleticism and ability to slow Durant down.
As far as who that guy is, I think is Paul George. And given his situation in Indiana, you know he’s available. The gamble there is, if you can even get him, George has just one year left on his deal, so there’s no guarantee he’ll re-up with Cleveland, especially given all the speculation that he wants to return home, here to L.A. to ball with the Lakers.
But to me, the question isn’t whether the Cavs can afford to pull the trigger on George, it’s where they can afford not to?
They need to convince LeBron to stay and they need to capitalize one of his remaining prime years; as focused and dedicated as LeBron is, father time is still going to kick his ass the way it does everyone else’s; and sooner than later.
So next year is absolutely critical for the Cavs. Pull the trigger, and get this guy the help he needs. Because there’s no guarantee he stays. You never thought he’d leave in the first place. Just like Pat Riley never thought he’d leave Miami. But he did. And he could again.