The Cavs have had a very roller coaster- like season thus far ranging from a 19 game win streak to a losing streak almost as long, and the largest roster change we’ve seen in a very long time. With acquisitions of Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Derrick Rose and Dwayne Wade in the offseason, this became a very deep and experienced team. Over the course of time (aside from the 19 game winning streak) it was clear that this roster wasn’t going to get the job done. No matter what lineup was in the game, you could tell that these guys just weren’t gelling like we thought they would. When you play with a guy like LeBron, your team is expected to make a serious run for the championship and a certain mentality is expected when you walk in the door. Before the trade deadline, the Cavs moved I.T., Channing Frye, Iman Shumpert, Jae Crowder, Derrick Rose, and Dwayne Wade, in exchange for Larry Nance, Jr., Jordan Clarkson, George Hill, and Rodney Hood. I know that’s a lot to take in, but these are good moves.
Larry Nance JR
The Cavs added some much needed shooting, youth, length, and a veteran point guard in George Hill. These are all guys who don’t need a lot of touches and don’t mind sharing the ball, which will prove to be helpful when the going gets tough. Throughout their 6 games in February, the Cavs have been averaging 115 points, while shooting 50% from the field and 42% from 3, which are great, when you look at the other great teams in the league who like the push the pace and get shots up.
The only questionable moves that weren’t made were keeping J.R. Smith and Tristan Thompson, who are getting paid an ample amount of money and have been coming up short for a while now, but nevertheless, these are guys who have been there through thick and thin. With other teams in the east sitting pretty like the Celtics (40-19) and Raptors (41-16) or teams who seem to be hitting their stride, like the Bucks, and Wizards (7-3 in their last 10), some major changes had to be made.
In terms of LeBron staying or leaving next year… that’s something that is up in the air. You could say that the team’s success this year will determine whether or not he leaves (considering how many years he has left), or you could say that he wants to form a team with his best friends eventually. He’s playing for his hometown and has the power to build around guys on the team instead of having to leave and start fresh. The only way I see him leaving is if the opportunity is way too good to turn down, and by this I mean that the option would pretty much guarantee a championship, which cannot be promised because of the all-star team that the Warriors have formed in the west. The Cavs are 7-3 in their last 10 games and these roster changes have had an immediate positive impact on the team, sparking some much needed hope for the rest of the season. Obviously the guys have to learn how to play with each other and play at a championship level, but all of that will fall into place as it always has since LeBron has been to 7 straight finals.
At the end of the day I would say the decision rests upon the outcome of the playoffs. If the Cavs lose in the finals again, or not even make it to the finals, then don’t be surprised if LeBron starts shopping other options.