If you’ve been living under a rock this NBA offseason, here’s a quick catch me up: A lot of players have left the Cleveland Cavaliers and a lot of new players will be coming in. And with a coaching switch, change is expected.
A total of eight players will not be returning to the Cavs in the 2013-14 season:
1. Omri Casspi—Signed with the Houston Rockets
2. Wayne Ellington—Signed with the Dallas Mavericks
3. Daniel Gibson—Free agent
4. Kevin Jones—Waived by team during summer league
5. Shaun Livingston—Signed with the Brooklyn Nets
6. Chris Quinn—Waived by team during summer league
7. Marreese Speights—Signed with the Golden State Warriors
8. Luke Walton—Free agent
Chances are the team will be able to move on without Casspi, Jones and Quinn, as none of these players were starters. On the other hand, quite a few of them played a significant role coming off the bench.
Ellington: He only played in 38 games for the Cavs, but after his acquisition from Memphis, he came in and provided the Cavs with scoring off the bench. His shot went a little cold just before arriving in Cleveland, but after arriving to the cold weather city he started to heat up. He averaged 10.4 points on 44 percent shooting from the field. He’s only been in the league four years, and he’s 25 years old, but he came in a played the role of a crafty veteran in his short time with the team.
Speights: Like Ellington, he came over in the trade with Memphis. When he arrived in Cleveland, he was always a bench player. When he was at Florida he watched Joakim Noah and Al Horford, in Philadelphia he sat behind Elton Brand and in Memphis he couldn’t crack the starting lineup with Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph there. When he arrived in Cleveland, I had big expectations for him, but he never found his groove with this team. Everyone knew his contract was expiring at the end of the year, and he was playing for a new contract — whether it was going to be with the Cavs or another city. The organization was more focused on developing their young talented big men like Tyler Zeller and Tristan Thompson. Speights had some great moments with the team, but it seemed like the front office had no desire to resign the big man.
Gibson: Ever since he married Keyshia Cole and had Boobie Jr. he hasn’t been the same player. I’m not giving an excuse for his poor play over the past few years, but there was a short time period in which Boobie Gibson was the hottest thing in Cleveland not named LeBron James. Nowadays he is nothing but a three-point specialist and role player at best. He was a fan favorite for so many years, but now that he isn’t playing next to James, he doesn’t seem to have a spot on this team.
Walton: Is he seriously on this list of players the Cavs will miss? I’ll pause here for a few seconds and let you get a quick chuckle out of it. Walton was nothing but an expiring salary that the Cavs received in the Ramon Sessions trade with the Los Angeles Lakers. Instead of just being a guy with a $6 million contract rotting on the bench, he stepped up and became a player the younger guys could look up to. He has championship experience and has played with some of the league’s greatest players when he was in LA. He was always one of the first players off the bench, giving his teammates daps when timeouts were called and became a hustle player diving for loose balls and grabbing offensive rebounds. He was a player/coach last season, which was exactly what this team needed with Byron Scott not taking leadership seriously when he was in charge.
It will be interesting to see where Gibson ends up; and don’t be surprised if it’s in Miami. And as far as Ellington and Speights go, I don’t think they were on the team long enough to have a lasting impact. The Cavs will be able to move on from these four not returning. None of them had stellar numbers, and with the new guys Chris Grant is bringing in, it will be easy to forget last year. However, seeing the 33-year-old Walton diving on the ground making the hustle plays when Varejao was out won’t be. He was a valuable piece in this franchise’s rebuilding.