We’ll take a look at all 30 teams in the next 30 days as they prepare for the 2017-2018 regular season, which is when the real fireworks begin! Today's team: The Cleveland Cavaliers.
Even though Boston and Cleveland have yet to make their trade official due to Isaiah Thomas’ still-gimpy hip, there’s little reason to believe that this deal will blow up.
That’s why if you visit either team’s website, you’ll see Kyrie Irving on the Celtics’ page while Thomas, Jae, Crowder and Ante Zizic are all wearing Cavalier uniforms.
Just as the conclusion of this trade has been odd, the fact that the top two teams in the East are involved in such a blockbuster of a trade is just as strange.
And because there’s still a glimmer of uncertainty as to the deal getting done, that makes it impossible to gauge what to expect from the Cavs this season.
But for argument’s sake, we’re going to work on the premise that the deal will be completed soon because frankly, both teams have been operating of late as though it will get done.
It’s all but a given that Isaiah Thomas will not play at the start of the season, so the Cavs will find themselves once again leaning heavily on LeBron James to carry them early on.
The upside this season is that James will have some help with the addition of Derrick Rose, a former league MVP who had a solid season last season in New York. Appearing in 64 games, Rose averaged 18.0 points per game, his highest scoring average since 2012. And he did so while shooting 47.1 percent from the field which was his highest mark since 2010.
And the addition of Jae Crowder gives Cleveland some defensive versatility that they have lacked in past years, not to mention another catch-and-shoot option for James to play with this season.
The trade with Boston was about more than just trying to get something of value for Irving who asked to be traded last month. It was about putting together a roster that could once again compete for a spot in the NBA Finals, which might be enough to convince James to stay beyond this upcoming season.
James can opt-out and become a free agent in the summer of 2018, with heavy speculation that he’ll take his talents to Los Angeles and play for the Lakers.
However, a strong run with a core group of himself, Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson, Thomas and Crowder along with potentially adding the number one player in a top-heavy draft via the Brooklyn pick Boston sent Cleveland’s way as part of the Irving trade, might be what convinces James to re-up with the Cavs.
Key free agent/draft/trade additions: Derrick Rose (Chicago); Isaiah Thomas (Boston); Jae Crowder (Boston); Jeff Green (Orlando).
Key losses: Kyrie Irving (traded to Boston); Deron Williams (free agent); Derrick Williams (free agent).
Rookies of note: Cedi Osman; Ante Zizic.
Expectations: 60-22 (First in the Central Division, first-place tie in the East)