3 reasons why the Cavs are elite contenders in East after free agency

Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by David Richard-USA TODAY Sports)
Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by David Richard-USA TODAY Sports) /
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The Cleveland Cavaliers’ front office had a clear vision this offseason and it was to improve a young, talented roster and get them over the hump and into the upper echelon of the Eastern Conference. Through the beginning days of free agency, it seems that they have done just that.

They brought back Caris LeVert on a team-friendly deal. They swapped out Cedi Osman and Lamar Stevens and brought in Max Strus and Georges Niang. They signed Ty Jerome as insurance for the backup point guard spot if Ricky Rubio continues to decline. They traded for a capable backup big in Damian Jones, who can actually play a few minutes a night and not fight mascots all day and ride the bench (sorry Robin Lopez).

All in all, it seems that the Cavs have filled their weaknesses and are set up to be elite contenders in the East next season. Here are three reasons why.

Reason No. 1: They kept their core four intact

After their unexpected playoff failure, there was a lot of talk about whether or not the Cavs should break up their core four of Darius Garland, Donovan Mitchell, Evan Mobley, and Jarrett Allen. There were even more rumblings about trading Allen after he admitted that the lights were too bright for him in the playoffs.

Ultimately, however, the Cavs did not break up their core four and that is a good thing. They have only spent one year together and had a flawed roster around them.

While they all suffered performance dips in the postseason, they were huge parts of the Cavaliers’ success this now-past regular season. They don’t have the No. 1 defense in the league without the presence of Mobley and Allen in the paint. They don’t reach 51 wins and a top four seed without the efficient offense from Garland and Mitchell. They don’t end their five-year playoff drought without this core. They are all under the age of 30 and have the chance to be something special.

Kudos to Koby Altman for giving them another chance to compete and grow together and not overreacting to the team’s five-game loss to the New York Knicks.