Next up in my series analyzing each NBA team’s offseason moves is the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavs are still ailing and attempting to recover from the loss of LeBron James through high draft picks and small free agent signings. With solid young talent, including point guard and reigning Rookie of the Year, Kyrie Irving, the Cavs seem to be on the right track.
The Cavaliers acquired two young and talented picks via the NBA Draft this offseason. They selected Dion Waiters, a guard from Syracuse, with the fourth overall pick in the draft, followed by trading two picks to Dallas for Tyler Zeller, center from North Carolina. Dion Waiters is a solid guard who can get to the basket very well. Although he didn’t start for Syracuse, he played the role of a Manu Ginobli or James Harden that we see in the NBA: his job was to come off the bench and provide starter-like production. However, the Cavaliers selected Waiters while Harrison Barnes, guard from North Carolina, was still available. This was somewhat of a surprise as many thought the 6’8’’ sharpshooter Harrison Barnes would be a great complement to Irving. The Cavaliers loved what they saw in Waiters though, and chose to go in that direction. We can only wait the season out to see if this was a good move, but it’s hard for me to argue in favor of Waiters due to the sheer size and shooting ability of Barnes.
The acquisition of Tyler Zeller was a wise move for the Cavaliers. With the loss of Antawn Jamison to free agency, the Cavs were in dire need of a skilled big man. Zeller is a solid low post scorer and defender as well. Zeller will be a good complement to Irving and Waiters due to the fact that he is an offensive threat. This will allow Irving and Waiters more opportunities to get to the basket, which is what they do best.
Aside from the draft, the Cavaliers did not make any other major moves. This was due to the fact that they were heavily involved in a potential trade for Dwight Howard, but in the end missed out. Their main signing was free agent small forward C.J Miles. He will most likely start at small forward and be a contributor. There’s a big difference between Dwight Howard and C.J Miles, but the Cavs needed to get some players signed, so they took what they could get. Other minor moves included resigning their big man Luke Harangody, claiming Jon Leur off of waivers, signing Jeremy Pargo, and finally signing undrafted rookie free agent Michael Eric, former big man at Temple.
The Cavaliers had a solid draft despite going in a different direction than most had anticipated. I will not penalize them for choosing Waiters over Barnes because one can only wait to find out whether or not that was a good move. However, after missing out on the Dwight Howard action, the Cavs offseason just shriveled, forcing them to pick up scraps from the floor. For this reason, the Cavs receive a: