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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Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics. Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images /

Reason No. 3: Eastern Conference uncertainty

The Cavaliers were able to surprise many and finish fourth in the East last season. This coming year, they have a chance to finish even higher. There is a lot of uncertainty at the top of the East right now and with an improved roster, the Cavs should be able to capitalize.

The Boston Celtics are still the clear number one in the conference despite trading Marcus Smart, as they still have two all NBA guys in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown and just got Kristaps Porzingis. After the Celtics is where it gets murky.

The Philadelphia 76ers have to deal with James Harden’s third trade request in the past two seasons, and might be worse next year with the bag of chips they are going to receive from the LA Clippers, if the Clippers were to eventually be where Harden lands. Yes, Philly still has Tyrese Maxey and Joel Embiid, but that may not be enough to remain at the top of the East as they do not have enough to replace Harden’s production.

From there, the Milwaukee Bucks did bring back their core, but Khris Middleton has injury concerns, and the roster is only getting older. The Miami Heat are at the center of Damian Lillard trade rumors, but they have not gotten him yet and who knows how good they will actually be next season even if they do. Their roster won’t have a lot of depth and they will have to heavily rely on Lillard, Jimmy Butler, and Bam Adebayo with not a lot of options after them.

That leaves the Cavs, who have a new-look roster and have filled their weaknesses. If their new additions pan out, and their core four continues their high level of play, they might be a top two team in the East next season.

Cleveland had a very successful free agency period that saw them add to a roster instead of tearing it apart. They have largely improved and have the looks of an elite contender in the Eastern Conference next season.

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