Outside of a potential sell-off of Iman Shumpert’s contract, the three-time defending Eastern Conference champion Cleveland Cavaliers have been incredibly quiet in free agency. Sure signing Jose Calderon for depth helps the team off the bench. But that’s not a move that’s going to pay huge dividends.
Without the necessary assets to add a top-end player, Cleveland missed out on both Paul George and Jimmy Butler. In fact, the Cavs were shocked when George himself was trade to Oklahoma City Friday night. Cleveland was in the midst of three-team trade talks with Indiana and Denver that would have landed the team the All-Star while sending Kevin Love packing to the Nuggets. It never materialized.
We can expect the Cavaliers to make some moves here soon, especially if the team is able to trade off the $21-plus million remaining on Shumpert’s contract. Though, without a general manager, the Cavaliers are unlikely to add anyone of real substance unless the likes of Dwyane Wade and/or Carmelo Anthony hit the buyout market.
The interesting dynamic here is that LeBron James has taken a hands-off approach in terms of recruiting potential free agents.
LeBron James has played an active role in recruiting for the Cavaliers in the past, but not this summer. https://t.co/K570Zw9DtV
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 2, 2017
Could that be a sign that he’s not committed to Cleveland long term? Set to become a free agent following the 2017-18 season, James could potentially move on to the Los Angeles Lakers or another west coast team.
What we do know is that Cleveland has yet to do anything that suggests it can compete with the Golden State Warriors in a seven-game set. With that said, the team is in a great position to earn a fourth consecutive trip to the Finals based on the trades of Butler and George out west as well as the Celtics’ inactivity in free agency. How the remainder of free agency plays out will dictate the Cavs’ title hopes moving forward into the upcoming season.