Not a single game has been played in the 2017-18 season yet and already there’s been non-stop talk of 2018 NBA Free Agency.
Of course, that has a lot to do with the fact that arguably the greatest player of all time (again, I said arguably), LeBron James, will be free to opt out of his contract with Cleveland and sign wherever he pleases.
The state of the Cavaliers as of late looked so bleak that most people outside of Cleveland wouldn’t even blame James if he left again, but after the news of Kyrie Irving being dealt to Boston, the King might just want to reconsider jumping ship.
The Cavs may have some promise after all. Here are three reasons why.
3. The Trade Took Some Dollars Off the Cap
The biggest reason why Cleveland was so handicapped in free agency this summer was due to the fact that they were SO far over the salary cap that they couldn’t afford to bring in another superstar. The money wasn’t right. However, this recent trade shaved some dollars off that figure which does give Cleveland a bit more wiggle room to potentially bring in some extra pieces.
2. They Got a Good Return
A lot of the hold up throughout the process of Cleveland finding a suitable trade partner for Kyrie Irving was getting a good enough deal worth taking. Irving is a top 15 talent in the league and has just entered into his prime. He has a lot of ball left in him which makes him one of the more valuable commodities in the league. It wasn’t going to be easy for Cleveland to cut a fair deal for Irving, but walking away with Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, and a couple more assets certainly isn’t bad.
1. Cavs Added a Draft Pick
In the deal for Irving, the Celtics also included Brooklyn’s 2018 unprotected first-round pick. Cleveland is in no way in rebuild mode, or tank mode, so they wouldn’t be getting a high draft pick for quite some time. Receiving Brooklyn’s pick (a team that isn’t projected to even remotely contend), is big for the Cavs as it allows them to add a top up-and-coming youngster to their already stout squad.
Losing Irving does certainly hurt, but by the numbers, Isaiah Thomas was more effective than even he was last season. Add Crowder and a projected top-tier lottery pick to a team that already features Thomas, Kevin Love, and LeBron James? That’s a legit team. Come next summer, who knows what kind of older vet would be willing to join that nucleus as a discounted price (*cough, cough* Dwyane Wade).
The Cavs might still be in business.