Last year went all too well for a young Cleveland Cavaliers team that exceeded many expectations, according to LeBron James. The Cavs, as everyone knows, went to the NBA Finals short two All Stars. Kevin Love was the first to go down with a dislocated shoulder during the Cavs first round playoff series versus the Boston Celtics. This resulted in an increased role for hybrid big man, Tristan Thompson. Thompson balled out, showing the spark he can bring when given significant playing time. Kyrie Irving, in the first game of the Finals, broke his kneecap and was forced to sit the remainder of the series. Uncle Drew’s injury gave more playing time to the likes of Matthew Dellavedova, Iman Shumpert, and J.R. Smith. Luckily, these players played above average and still managed to send the Finals to six games, ultimately losing to a great Golden State Warriors team and league MVP Stephen Curry.
The Cavs had many free agents that needed to be taken care of; the ultimate goal to bring the band back together. With Shumpert playing at an extraordinary level on the defensive side, the Cavaliers locked him up for the next four years, spending about forty million dollars on his services alone. The rumors swirled, however, about being able to keep Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson, two key players for a championship caliber team. Despite all the rumors about Kevin Love wanting to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers, he posted an article to The Players’ Tribune announcing he would be returning to The Land. Tristan Thompson and J.R. Smith still remained unsigned.
Ongoing drama came while negotiations continued for the Cavs organization and Tristan Thompson. LeBron James has made it clear that he wants Thompson back, but he will remain out of the negotiations. Meanwhile, the Cavs brought back former All Star, and former James teammate, Mo Williams. The move brought much-needed depth to a back court that saw their depth exploited in the Finals. They also brought in veteran Richard Jefferson to not only play a role off the bench, but to bring veteran leadership to a young team. J.R. Smith, during this time, signed a two-year deal valued in excess of $10 million.
Thompson still remains unsigned and has not shown up at team workouts, media day, or training camp. He may be forced to sign the qualifying offer of $6.9 million before the deadline of October 1st, which only a day away. This could be a good thing though, as Thompson might want to see if he still wants to be in Cleveland for the long run, while the Cavs benefit by having his services.
Drama continued outside of contract negotiations. Many Cavaliers fans woke up Tuesday morning to the news that Iman Shumpert would be out for 12-14 weeks with a wrist injury, which means he’ll most likely be available after the first of the year. The Cavs are lucky, however, that they addressed depth this offseason. Not only will they have Delly and J.R. to back up Shumpert, but they will now have Mo Williams who is more than capable of scoring. The Cavs can only hope that the injuries don’t add up like last year, and they’ll be able to win a championship with the whole band back together.