The Future Of The Cavs
Written by Brandon Lewis on November 15, 2018
On July 1st of this year, the future of the Cavaliers was known as Lebron James announced his decision to leave Cleveland, and sign a four-year contract with the Los Angeles Lakers. Ever since that day, the question has always been how the Cavs will build towards the future. Going into the season, on paper, the Cavs roster was good enough to compete for a playoff spot in the weak eastern conference. After all, the Cavs still had Kevin Love, JR Smith, Tristan Thompson, Kyle Korver and all of the gang that was on the team last season. However, after a 0-6 start, head coach Tyronn Lue being relieved of his duties, JR Smith requesting a trade and former assistant coach Jim Boylan suing the team over age discrimination, the Cavs look to be a mess. However, I do have a plan that will turn the Cavs around from being a mess into being a championship contender once again; the five-year plan.
Year 1: Tank the Rest of This Season
For the record, I was not in favor of the Cavs decision to re-sign Kevin Love and try to compete this season, nor was I in favor of firing coach Lue after just six games with a Lebron-less team, but Larry Drew could be the veteran voice the young Cavs need going forward. In the NBA, the worst position your franchise can be in is competing for a low playoff seed every year. Teams like the Wizards, the Nuggets, the Bucks, the Blazers, the Pelicans, and the Heat have done that for years now, and they have not gone anywhere. Instead of tanking and trusting the process like the Philadelphia 76ers, they have been stuck in a state of limbo now for the last half-decade. The Sixers figured it out. The only one to get good talent and compete for championships in this day and age of the NBA is to blatantly tank in order to get good draft picks. Now the NBA has made it harder to do that, considering they changed the rules in the draft lottery, so that the three worst teams automatically are in the top three of the lottery, but that means it is even more important to tank. It is even more important for the Cavs to tank this season because if the Cavs pick falls out of the top 10, it belongs to the Hawks due to the Kyle Korver trade in 2017.
Year 2: Trade Away Everybody Else, Tank Again
In year two of my five-year plan, the Cavs will need to completely overhaul the roster. At the end of the 2018-2019 season, those horrendous contracts most of the Cavs players have become tradeable because they have one year left on their deal. I would let Rodney Hood, Sam Decker, David Nwaba, Billy Preston, John Holland, and Channing Frye walk in free agency, and trade George Hill, JR Smith and Kyle Korver (if they are not already traded like rumors suggest they will be), Kevin Love, Jordan Clarkson and Tristan Thompson for a bevy of draft picks. Now, I realize that would only leave Collin Sexton, Cedi Osman, Ante Zizic, Larry Nance, and the Cavs 2019 draft picks on the roster, but that is ok. Sign anybody else you can to minimum contracts to fill out the roster, and then let them go at the end of this season. The Cavs should be the worst team in NBA history in 2019-2020. I would not mind if they went 0-82. It is a part of the plan. Also, the Cavs do not need to find their coach of the future in this year. They just need anybody to coach the team while they tank. The coach comes in later on, so if Larry Drew is still the coach, that is ok.
Year 3: Compete for a Little, but not Much
By the start of the 2020-2021 season, the Cavs roster should have a boatload of young talent if all the picks work out. Collin Sexton should be developed after working hard the first two years, Larry Nance, Cedi Osman and Ante Zizic should be rounding into form, and Zion Williamson the 6’7 shooting guard from Duke, and the projected first overall pick in the 2019 draft, should be coming along, paired side by side with the number one pick in the 2020 draft Jaden McDaniels, the 6’10 forward who is currently in his senior year of high school at Federal Way High School in Washington. Also, the Cavs would be selecting N’Faly Dante, the 6’10 center with the fifth pick of the 2021 draft. The Cavs should be looking to it least grow and compete for 25-30 wins during this season. If the Warriors are disbanded, the East should be more competitive, but the Cavs young talent should be able to rack up some wins lead by a veteran coach like Drew.
Year 4: One Year Away
By this point, the Cavs are ready to take a big step forward into becoming a great team again. All the young talent has developed under Larry Drew’s guidance the last couple of years. Now, Drew has been fired, and the Cavs go after a young aggressive coach that knows how to get the most out of talent, and the Cavs just fall short of making the playoffs in a tough eastern conference. However, that is ok for the Cavs. By the end of the 2021-2022 season, Lebron James jr has declared for the NBA Draft straight out of high school, and Lebron James has just beat the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals, winning LA a championship for the first time since 2010 when Kobe Bryant beat the Celtics in seven games to win back to back titles. In the offseason, the Clippers won the lottery and have selected Lebron James jr with the first pick, but the Cavs make a trade with the Clippers, sending N’Faly Dante, Cedi Osman, some of the other first rounds pick that didn’t pan out in previous years from trading away guys like Tristan Thompson and Kevin Love, and the Cavs 2023 and 2024 first round picks to the Clippers in exchange for Lebron James Jr. This way, the Clippers get talent, and our goal is reached.
Year 5: Father and Son Bring a Title Home
Now that Lebron Jr is with the same organization his dad played for, there is nothing stopping us. I predict after his contract runs out in Los Angeles, Lebron plays one last season with his son wherever his son is, and that should be in Cleveland. With the talent Lebron Jr has, he should be able to carry some of the weight that his dad will no longer be able to carry thanks to now being 40 years old. Lebron and Lebron Jr, alongside Collin Sexton, Larry Nance, Zion Williamson, Ante Zizic, Jaden McDaniels and a bunch of veterans will help bring home one last trophy to Northeast Ohio before the king rides off into the sunset.