The Cleveland Cavaliers front office has received plenty of criticism over the years, but the collective work the group has put together this season should put some of their past missteps far in the rearview.
The old adage in professional sports is that it’s extremely hard to win a title, but almost impossible to pull off a repeat performance the following year. As good as the San Antonio Spurs have been the past 20 years, the franchise hasn’t pulled off back-to-back championship campaigns. Sustaining excellence at the highest level is incredibly difficult, so any franchise that can manage it deserves recognition.
The Cavaliers are positioned to repeat as NBA champions and potentially begin a dynasty. But heading into the season, everyone knew Cleveland would have to successfully combat the enormous move the Golden State Warriors pulled off this past summer – signing former league MVP Kevin Durant in free agency.
Four-time League MVP LeBron James was openly critical of the Cavaliers’ front office as the new year began, openly requesting more firepower on the roster and a playmaker.
Cleveland’s front office was essentially able to pull a feather out of the proverbial cap in strengthening the roster recently without giving up any core assets to do so. Chemistry is king in the NBA and this is the reason why league executives rarely meddle with winning rosters. Finding a winning formula is an elusive mixture that eludes most, however, the Cavaliers were able to secure Kyle Korver and Deron Williams over the past two months without giving up a significant portion of their core group.
To be clear and to put things into the proper perspective, the Cavaliers acquired two former All-Star talents without giving up a key future piece or nightly contributor from their title run in 2016. Additionally, the Cavaliers are reportedly one of the frontrunners to sign former No. 1 overall pick Andrew Bogut. This would be a significant acquisition, especially considering the Cavaliers have one of the highest payrolls in the league and were well over the cap entering the season. Being able to pull in three veterans that are largely still productive with limited financial flexibility and without having to dig deep into future assets and/or their existing core group deserves plenty of credit.
With the playoffs set to begin in less than two months, the Cavaliers still have injuries to overcome. All-Star forward Kevin Love and shooting guard J.R. Smith are both several weeks away from a return to action. Love and Smith represent 40 percent of the team’s starting lineup and their availability for the playoffs will be critical to the Cavaliers’ goal of winning the championship this season. Whatever ends up happening with Love and Smith, the Cavaliers front office deserves credit for adding depth with limited flexibility.
Ultimately, it may or may not be enough to hold off the revenge-seeking Golden State Warriors, but King James can no longer openly question the reinforcements provided by his front office.
Andrew Bogut Undecided About Future, Weighing Options
According to Adam Himmelsbach from the Boston Globe, former No. 1 pick Andrew Bogut is still undecided on which team he will join once he clear waivers on Wednesday. The Cleveland Cavaliers have been rumored to be frontrunners, but according to the report, the Boston Celtics have emerged as a potential destination as well:
The source told the Globe that reports stating Bogut has decided to sign with the Cavaliers after he clears waivers on Wednesday are inaccurate, and that the Celtics are very much in contention.
Bogut and Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge had a “good talk” on Monday night, the source said. The source said Bogut is also planning to speak to Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue, as well as Celtics coach Brad Stevens.
Bogut may even speak to a few Celtics players over the phone on Tuesday to get a gauge on how he might fit with their team, the source said. Bogut would like to select his new team by the end of Tuesday, the source said.
The Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs have also been mentioned as a potential destination for the veteran center.
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