Cavs’ summer of Love, and LeBron, already one wild ride
Random thoughts on the Cavaliers’ never-ending run of fun and fury:
1. It’s been insane. That’s really the only way to explain the Cavs’ offseason. But when you consider the past four years, and the fact LeBron James has returned to Cleveland, it’s been crazy in a good (even great) way.
2. Not long after the season, the Cavs won the NBA Draft lottery — again. They later named David Griffin the full-time general manager. That same day, they announced Mike Brown was fired as coach. Warning: If your head is already spinning, stop reading at once.
3. After a search that went about 10 deep, the Cavs finally hired David Blatt. Blatt has only coached overseas, so the hire made headlines worldwide. In another unprecedented move, the Cavs hired their second-leading candidate, Tyronn Lue, as Blatt’s lead assistant. Yeah, that happened.
4. To recap, that’s a new GM, a new coach and a new top assistant. But they didn’t get to that point quietly. First, they created a stir by interviewing the likes of former Cavs star Mark Price and reportedly reaching out to big-name college dudes such as John Calipari and Billy Donovan. At any rate, we’re already coming up on point No. 5 and we haven’t even gotten out of the front office.
5. Along with all that, the Cavs and their fans went back and forth on what to do with the top overall pick. For at least a month, the often-heated debate for fans was Andrew Wiggins vs. Jabari Parker. The Cavs went with Wiggins.
6. After that, the sports world froze. Everything just stopped. LeBron James opted out of his contract with the Heat — and didn’t come out and say he was returning to Miami. In fact, he didn’t say a word. The often-heated debate for fans then turned into the Heat vs. the Cavs. LeBron went with the Cavs.
7. And literally about five minutes after James announced his decision, the sports world stopped again. Will LeBron’s former teammates Mike Miller and Ray Allen join him with the Cavs? (Affirmative on Miller; no word yet on Allen.) Will LeBron play with Wiggins? Does LeBron want Timberwolves star Kevin Love instead? Can the Cavs really only have one? Hey, why not both? Either way, the often-heated debate for fans is now Wiggins vs. Love.
8. Oh, to create some financial room for James, the Cavs traded Jarrett Jack and Sergey Karasev (to the Nets) and Tyler Zeller (to the Celtics). They also traded Alonzo Gee (to the Pelicans) and Scotty Hopson, who you’ve probably still never heard of (to the Hornets). In return, the Cavs received old-and-banged-up-but-maybe-still-effective center Brendan Haywood and second-round pick Dwight Powell, another big man.
9. Then came Tuesday. The Cavs pulled off yet another deal, sending second-year swingman Carrick Felix, a second-round pick and a million bucks to the Jazz — for guard John Lucas and forwards Erik Murphy and Malcolm Thomas. If you’ve heard of Felix, you’re a die-hard Cavs fan. If you’ve heard of the other three, you probably need to get out more.
10. The speculation now? Lucas, Murphy and Thomas all own non-guaranteed deals, which may or may not mean a move for Love is nearing. Without a doubt, the trade with the Jazz looks like a salary-cap clearing maneuver.
11. One thing that does seem like a safe bet: The Cavs plan to talk to the Timberwolves again, and this trade leads you to believe it’s already happening.
12. There are likely some other pieces and parts missing from this column. The Cavs actually got some stuff back in the trades with the Celtics and Nets. In fact, you may someday hear of the assets they received in return — but only if you follow basketball in places like Siberia or Guam.
13. On top of all that, there are league-wide whispers of a third team perhaps getting involved in a potential Cavs-Wolves deal, whispers of the 76ers possessing a strong interest in Cavs guard Dion Waiters, whispers of another major transaction on the way. Yeah. Unreal.
14. Oh, by the way, Kyrie Irving signed a contract extension. In, like, 5.42 minutes.
15. So, what’s it all mean? It means this is no time to sleep. This is time for pro basketball as the game is played in July, a game the Cavs are single-handedly keeping alive. And as crazy as it sounds, as crazy as it’s been, it may very well be a game your Cleveland Cavaliers are winning.
Follow on Twitter @SamAmicoFSO