When it comes to offseason, Cavs all the rage
Barely an offseason day has gone by without the Cavaliers having been in the middle of some hot rumor. Some have been true, some otherwise, and it’s hard to determine which is which. For the Cavs, even what we know to be true gets a little twisted. The biggest and most believable news centers around Cavs point guard Kyrie Irving, the NBA’s reigning Rookie of the Year and face of the franchise. What we do know is Irving broke his hand during Saturday’s practice for the summer season. He is flying back to Cleveland, may require surgery and is expected to be out for 6-8 weeks. What we can’t be quite sure of is how it actually happened. We think we know -- as the Cavs released a statement saying the fracture occurred after Irving slapped a padded wall. Irving admitted it was “a freak accident,” but didn’t get into details. The only insight he offered came via Twitter early Sunday, when he more or less refuted the Cavs’ release. “I didn’t punch the wall … at all,” Irving wrote. “Not in my character.” On the bright side for Cavs fans, Irving also called it “a minor bump in the road” and the team expects him to make a full recovery in time for training camp in late September. But that’s just the latest, and not necessarily greatest, chatter surrounding the Cavs. The summer began with the NBA Draft, and of course, the Cavs making the headlines. According to several reports, they offered all four of their picks (Nos. 4 and 24 in the first round, and 33 and 34 in the second) to the Hornets for the top overall selection. When that failed to materialize, they supposedly explored landing the No. 2 pick from the Bobcats to select Florida shooting guard Bradley Beal (who eventually went third to the Wizards). Then came reports that there was no way the Cavs would let North Carolina forward Harrison Barnes slip past them if they ended up keeping the fourth pick. They did, and instead drafted Syracuse guard Dion Waiters. Barnes, meanwhile, slipped all the way to the Warriors at No. 7. But before you could hold your head in place to keep it from spinning, along came the news that the Cavs were involved in serious trade talks with the Magic and Nets. Two centerpieces of the rumored deal were Magic center Dwight Howard, who would go to the Nets, and Nets forward Kris Humphries, who would go to the Cavs. That fell apart almost as quickly as it was reported, and the Cavs took most of the blame, with opposing general managers basically calling them a bunch of chickens. Then, shortly before we learned about Irving's hand, the Internet buzzed with a new Howard rumor. Not surprisingly, it involved the Cavs -- who were supposedly set to steal Lakers center Andrew Bynum in the transaction. Instead, those familiar with the Cavs’ thinking denied the Bynum deal ever had any legs, and no deal would be forthcoming. If there were ever any talks regarding Bynum and the Cavs, they sure are dead now. So, what gives? Why are the Cavs seemingly at the center of every NBA-related tweet? Well, the reasons are many. For one, they have a ton of space under the salary cap. That means they can afford to take on salary themselves, as well as offer financial relief to opposing teams. That alone makes them a natural trading partner. For another, GM Chris Grant is in fact being aggressive, seeking out a deal that makes sense and will improve the Cavs' future -- both the immediate and mostly, for the long haul. That means working the phones like Brad Pitt in the movie “Moneyball,” wisely exploring the hundreds (maybe thousands) of options that exist. The Cavs are also loaded with draft picks, with at least two first-rounders coming again next summer (and a third if the Kings make the playoffs). And let’s not forget all the talk of the Cavs eventually signing someone to help fill out the roster via free agency. Interestingly enough, despite all of the above, Grant and the Cavs have yet to make a serious move. And hey, why would they? They aren’t refusing to do it for this reason, but the bottom line is, the Cavs are as relevant now as they were during the season. The national media is taking note, the fans are engaged, the opportunities are endless and still available. As far as the offseason is concerned, you really couldn’t ask for a whole lot more.
Follow Sam Amico on Twitter @SamAmicoFSO