After a period of inactivity, the Cleveland Cavaliers made their free agency splash in signing hybrid forward Earl Clark and sixth man Jarrett Jack. While neither player is a star, both figure to play meaningful minutes next season. Clark, at 6-10, is the odds on favorite to start at small forward ahead of Alonzo Gee, while Jack should play an upward of 25 minutes a night at both guard spots.
And although I expect these to be the two biggest moves of the Cavaliers offseason, there still are spots to be filled on the roster. As it stands now, 13 players are under contract for next season, meaning general manager Chris Grant and his staff could elect to sign two more players. The other option is to sign one player or stay put and leave room on the roster for 10-day contracts or D-League call-ups down the road.
That said, here are the best fits for the Cleveland Cavaliers left on the open market.
Under contract: Kyrie Irving, Jarrett Jack, Chris Quinn
Best Fit: Daniel “Boobie” Gibson
In a world where Omri Casspi got a two-year deal from the Houston Rockets, I’m a tad bit surprised that a team hasn’t taken a flier on Gibson, if only because of his shooting ability from behind the arc. He’s going to be available at a low price, and, even if he’s not active every night, he could be a shooter on the end of the bench. Plus, with the signing of Jack, there isn’t a need for another conventional point guard on the roster, thus making a niche player like Gibson an acceptable signing. Plus, he’s a good guy who likes to be in Cleveland who has already played for Mike Brown. If it is at a low price, I have no qualms about bringing him back next year. However, if Gibson has indeed sold his house, then maybe the front office is comfortable with Quinn being the emergency point guard.
Under contract: Dion Waiters, C.J. Miles
Best Fit: None
There is no need to sign another shooting guard at this point. Waiters will start, Miles will come off the bench and I also expect Jack to play a fair amount of minutes off the ball with Irving at point guard. It wouldn’t even shock me if Sergey Karasev played at the two from time to time. This position is set, and I’d be a little surprised if the Cavaliers decided to spend money on a shooting guard. There’s no upside to adding another player at the two.
Under Contract: Earl Clark, Alonzo Gee, Sergey Karasev
Best Fit: None
Signing Clark and drafting Karasev is a short-term fix for the Cavaliers weakest position. Those two, plus Gee, gives Cleveland a decent trio that should hold down the fort for a year. I would have preferred Corey Brewer to Clark, but the Mike Brown connection made Clark a logical signing. This position isn’t great by any means, but it’s far better off than it was at this point last year. That, in itself, is a victory.
Under Contract: Tristan Thompson, Anthony Bennett, Kevin Jones
Best Fit: None
Again, the Cavaliers have filled their need at this position through the draft. In this case, however, they filled the position for the foreseeable future. Thompson, Bennett and maybe out-of-place center Anderson Varejao have this position on lockdown. Along with point guard, it’s the strongest position on the roster and allows the Cavaliers to be flexible with their lineups. Unless a trade comes out of left field that nets the Cavaliers a Kevin Love or LaMarcus Aldridge, this is what the depth chart will look like come October.
Under Contract: Anderson Varejao, Tyler Zeller
Best Fit: Greg Oden
Center, to me, is the position of most worry on the roster. If you think about it, the Cavaliers are a Varejao injury away from having Zeller starting at center and automatically having an issue at that position every night. Signing Oden isn’t exactly guaranteed depth, but it’s worth a shot if he comes to Cleveland instead of Miami or San Antonio. If he can play, he’d be an ideal compliment to Zeller. Oden provides the defense off the bench, while Zeller will play more on the outside and provide offense. Plus, there’s much more upside to signing Oden at little or no guaranteed money than Andrew Bynum with guaranteed money, even if both deals are for only for a year.
At this point, the Cavaliers roster is largely complete. The starting lineup and key reserves appear to be largely set. At this point, any shopping will be the equivalent of shopping at a garage sale or a thrift shop. Guys like Oden and Gibson could help in niche roles at low prices. Outside of those, I don’t see other signings making sense considering the moves that have already been made.