Where Do LeBron and Cleveland Go From Here?
This has been one of the toughest off seasons that the Cleveland Cavaliers, and LeBron James, have had in quite sometime. They go into it thinking that their big three, LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love, will be leading the team come training camp in September for at least one more season. When Kyrie Irving dropped the “I want a trade” bomb on Cleveland, all those expectations went out the window. Now, the Cavaliers are reeling to try and solve this situation, remain atop the Eastern Conference, and return to the NBA Finals.
They recently signed Derrick Rose to a one year, $2.1 million, deal, but that will not be the solution to it all. This signing won’t save the Cavaliers in it of itself.
“LeBron James, who said he would let the front office deal with the Kyrie Irving trade situation, has been making his own behind-the-scenes moves.” as reported by ESPN. LeBron has decided to take matters into his own hands to help guarantee the team status of the Cavaliers. He has started his own recruiting work. James Jones, the President of Basketball Operations for the Phoenix Suns, is one of King James’ personal friends. LeBron has reportedly reached out to Jones concerning a trade involving Josh Jackson for Kyrie Irving.
This can be a hopeful sign for Cleveland fans, considering LeBron will be a free agent next summer and the rumors of his exit are already swirling. But, for now Cavs fans are focusing on the upcoming season and will cross that bridge when they come to it.
Ultimately, Kyrie is still under contract for two more seasons and, even thought Irving is not happy with his situation, Cleveland can make him stay. It is hard to find a serious replacement for one of the best guards, and ball handlers, in the NBA. Even with the signing of Derrick Rose, all the Cleveland Cavaliers did was bolster their bench, and that may hold some unfounded talent.
The Cavaliers have the multiple players on the bench that can back James up and successfully contribute, if they finally decide to step up like it is believed they can. Players like J.R. Smith, Tristan Thompson, and Iman Shumpert must create a bench that can come up big in necessary situations. LeBron James can’t carry the Cavs all by himself.
Shumpert showed moments of excellent defense and awesome decision making with the ball. Though there were flashes of great play, he needs to be that player all the time and be able to sustain in big game situations. His reliance on his three point shot, more than 50 percent of his shots were from behind the arc, will not get him the production that he is capable of.
The Cavaliers relied so much on their first team to get them where they got to that if their bench came alive it might be dangerous. Last seasons roster saw 20 different member changes for the Cavs. LeBron was second in the NBA last season in minutes and with his progressing age, this may need to change in the up-coming seasons. The Cavaliers averaged 22nd in the NBA last season in defense, which directly reflects the old saying that defense wins championships.
If the bench players on the Cleveland Cavaliers bench backed up their first team with phenomenal bench play, it would be a powerful one, two punch. It could also alleviate the stress being felt by the trade request of Kyrie Irving knowing that the bench can pick up the slack left over.
[Feature Image by Thearon W. Henderson/ Getty Images]