The Cleveland Cavaliers will probably continue to be the best team in the Eastern Conference for at least a couple more seasons, but they're no match for an even more stacked Golden State Warriors team, at least not as currently constructed.
Cleveland will look to bolster its talent level this offseason, but it doesn't have the cap space to add any big-money All-Stars in free agency.
Unless a significant trade occurs, the Cavs are going to have to go bargain shopping to try to get better. So with that in mind, here's a look at nine veteran star players who could, maybe, possibly end up in a Cleveland uniform before next season begins.
NBAE/Getty ImagesIssac Baldizon
Rose is just 28 years old and will almost certainly be able to get a multi-year deal well above the minimum salary level if that's what he wants to do. But he's racked up more than $95 million in career NBA earnings, and that doesn't even include the $185 million deal he received from adidas in 2012.
If Rose wants to try to win a championship, signing on with the Cavaliers for a season or two below market value wouldn't be a bad idea. He could provide a nice scoring burst off the bench in a backup point guard role while Kyrie Irving gets some much-needed rest.
Rose averaged 18 points and 4.4 assists as a starter in 64 appearances with the Knicks last season and is an unrestricted free agent.
Swaggy P rehabilitated his image a bit with the Lakers last season, earning high praise from new head coach Luke Walton for his attention to detail on the defensive end of the floor, as well as his professionalism around the younger players on the roster.
The 32-year-old averaged 13.2 points per game while shooting better than 40 percent from three-point distance and has a player option for $5.6 million for next season.
Barbosa was a member of the Warriors when they won a title in 2015, but was one of the roster casualties when Kevin Durant decided to join Golden State in advance of the 2017 season.
He spent last year with the Suns in a reserve role as a mentor to the league's youngest roster but has a non-guaranteed contract for next season. He averaged 6.3 points in 14.4 minutes off the bench during the 2016-17 season.
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The 39-year-old Ginobili is likely to retire after a career that spanned 15 NBA seasons, all with the Spurs. But if he decides to come back for one more run at a ring (and in the event that he believes he'd have a better chance to do that in Cleveland than in San Antonio), he'd be a huge addition for the Cavaliers.
Ginobili averaged 7.5 points in 18.7 minutes per game during the regular season but poured in 21 points in less than 18 minutes when he was pressed into action during Game 3 of San Antonio's playoff loss to the Warriors.
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Hibbert has dropped off considerably since he had his playoff battles with LeBron in the Eastern Conference finals with the Indiana Pacers, but he'd be a nice backup to Tristan Thompson as a rebounder and rim protector off the bench. He played limited minutes in Charlotte and Denver last season and is an unrestricted free agent.
Not only can the 40-year-old still play, but he can still throw it down with the best of 'em when the mood strikes. He averaged 8.0 points and 3.2 rebounds in 73 appearances for the Grizzlies last season and is an unrestricted free agent.
The 35-year-old showed last season with the Jazz that he's still capable of playing meaningful minutes as a reserve on a team that's good enough to compete in the playoffs. He has a non-guaranteed deal for $7.5 million next season, and if Utah decides that money would be better spent elsewhere, Diaw could decide to go ring-chasing -- and the Cavaliers would be wise to scoop him up.
It's not at all likely that D-Wade will decline a player option with the Bulls that would pay him $23.8 million for next season. But in the event he's tired of Fred Hoiberg's quirky rotations and wants to contend for a title instead of merely a playoff spot, then he could give his old buddy LeBron a call and really help the Cavs make one more serious run at the Warriors.
We're well aware that there's almost zero chance of this happening. Bryant played his entire 20-year career as a member of the Lakers, retired from the NBA in 2016 and scored 60 points in his final game before saying goodbye to the fans at STAPLES Center forever.
But what if he got the itch?
The Cavaliers would provide the perfect scenario for Bryant to play one more season. He'd be joining LeBron James in the fight to take down the unfairly loaded Golden State Warriors, and Cleveland would immediately become the league's most intriguing story line. Bryant wouldn't have to play a ton of minutes and could provide a nice scoring punch while James and Irving get a breather.
It's almost certainly not happening. But it sure is fun to think about Kobe and LeBron on the same squad, trying to beat a Warriors team that may or may not be the greatest of all-time.