Cleveland Cavaliers: David Griffin’s Offseason Game Plan

Feb 18, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers general manager David Griffin talks with the media before the game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Chicago Bulls at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 18, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers general manager David Griffin talks with the media before the game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Chicago Bulls at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports /

Cleveland Cavaliers General Manager David Griffin has some crucial decisions to make this offseason, and here is his game plan.

There’s no time to rest in the NBA. Just 10 days ago, the Cleveland Cavaliers were crowned NBA champions and, four short days after that, NBA commissioner Adam Silver took the stage in Brooklyn to a smattering of boos to announce that the Philadelphia 76ers had selected Ben Simmons with the first overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft.

Now free agency is upon us. Life comes at you fast in the NBA.

Despite winning the title, Cavs General Manager David Griffin faces some roster uncertainty this offseason. With no cap space to chase higher-end free agents, Griffin will have to go shopping at the bargain bin for undervalued players or veterans that can step in and contribute. He also has some decisions to make regarding some of his own free agents.

Let’s tackle the Cavs offseason, FAQ style.

Who’s staying in Cleveland?

Despite opting out of his contract, LeBron James will be back next year. He dispelled all rumors about a possible exit at the championship parade a week ago. Tristan Thompson is also a lock to return next year. Few other big men in the league possess the skills to effectively chase guards around the perimeter and relentlessly attack the glass. As long as LeBron is on the team, Tristan isn’t going anywhere.

Kyrie Irving turned a corner in Games 3-through-7 of the Finals, outplaying the NBA’s two-time MVP and solidifying his spot as a cornerstone of the franchise. Believe it or not, some people questioned his “fit” with this team before the playoffs, suggesting Matthew Dellavedova might be a better option. Those people don’t look too smart now in light of Kyrie’s virtuoso performance in the finals.

Related Story: LeBron James Opts Out Of Contract With The Cleveland Cavaliers

Shump, Channing Frye, Mo and Sasha Kaun are under contract for next season, all but ensuring that they will return (barring a trade) to defend the title.

Who are the Free Agents?

J.R. Smith recently opted out of his contract for the upcoming season, making him a free agent, but, like LeBron, this is purely a financial decision. He has indicated that he wants to stay in town but, with the cap skyrocketing to $94 million this offseason, he is set to receive a nice pay raise (buy some new shirts JR!!) over the $5 million he would’ve earned had he opted in to the second year of his deal.

James Jones’ contract is up but “Champ” isn’t going anywhere. Same goes for Richard Jefferson. It appeared he would ride off into the sunset with Lil’ Kev after winning his first title but he has since announced he’d like to play a few more years.

It’s hard to see him leaving town after becoming a fan favorite throughout the playoffs and providing valuable minutes off the bench but anything is possible, especially with the rising cap.

Dellavedova and Timofey Mozgov, two players who played key roles in the 2015 Finals, are set to become free agents. Their respective futures are a little less certain. Mozgov is unlikely to return, following an underwhelming season that saw him go from a fixture in the starting lineup to a regular at the end of the bench. As the season progressed, his slow feet, lack of awareness and god-awful hands rendered him unplayable.

Related Story: What Does Kay Felder Bring To The Cavs? What Does It Mean For Other Cavs?

As for Delly, his future isn’t as much about his talent as it is the market. He had a very productive year, improving his three point stroke and playmaking ability while continuing to play his trademark brand of defense.

Virtually every NBA team will have more money to play with this offseason, meaning they don’t have to be frugal in their pursuit of valuable role players, players like Delly. It’s not far-fetched to think he will get an offer somewhere in the $7-$10 million range, a price the Cavs can’t afford to pay to their backup point guard.

The selection of Kay Felder, a diminutive, offensive-minded point guard, in the draft a week ago is likely insurance in the event that Delly does leave for greener pastures in free agency. A three year college player, Felder is experienced and seems ready to step into a backup role immediately.

What’s going to happen to Kevin Love?

All signs point to Kevin Love returning next year despite a tumultuous playoffs that, fortunately for him, ended on a high note. He remains a flawed player. People will continue to question his “fit,” both with the Cavs and in the larger landscape of the modern NBA.

He is, without a doubt, a below average defensive player who struggles to chase mobile big men around the perimeter and is often a victim in the pick-and-roll.

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As the playoffs wore on, his offense disappeared as well. Effectively a spot up shooter on this team, he didn’t receive consistent touches in the post or at the elbow, two of his favorite spots to operate on offense. In the process of turning him into a three point specialist, the Cavs marginalized one of his greatest strengths: offensive rebounding.

In Game 7, he reverted back to some of the things that made him so successful in Minnesota. He attacked the glass relentlessly, drawing fouls and creating second chances for himself and his teammates.

Teams will undoubtedly call about acquiring Love this summer. The Boston Celtics, owners of attractive future first round picks and intriguing young players, have been after Love for two years now.

Next: Why Kevin Love Shouldn't Be Traded From Cleveland

It’s not often that a championship team makes drastic changes in the offseason. David Griffin would be wise to run it back with this group and see what they can accomplish next year. After all, he could have a potential dynasty on his hands.