2014 Cleveland Cavaliers

Written by Paul Banks of the Washington Times, David Kay and Peter Christian of the The Sports Bank. Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
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Cleveland Cavaliers (Last Year: 33-49)

2013-14 Season Summary:
Dating back to last offseason, the Cleveland Cavaliers made some aggressive moves in the 2013 NBA Draft, free agency, and via trades in hopes of surrounding the team’s young core with veteran role players. However, those moves didn’t pan out as management anticipated, and Cleveland still finished sixteen games under .500. As a result, the organization fired its general manager and head coach, Mike Brown. Again.

Luckily, the Cavaliers struck gold at the NBA Draft Lottery for the third time in four years by winning the No. 1-overall selection. Management now faces the envious dilemma of who to take with that top pick, alongside trying to re-sign some important free agents or take another stab of adding talent on the free agent market.

2014-15 Projected Depth Chart:

C: Anderson Varejao/Tyler Zeller

PF: Tristan Thompson/Anthony Bennett

SF: ^Alonzo Gee/Sergey Karasev/Carrick Felix

SG: Dion Waiters/Matthew Dellavedova/^Scotty Hopson

PG: Kyrie Irving/Jarrett Jack

NBA Free Agents:

SF-Luol Deng (UFA)

C-Spencer Hawes (UFA)

SF-C.J. Miles (UFA)

^SF-Alonzo Gee (TO)

^SG-Scotty Hopson (TO)

2013-14 Team Salary: Approximately $45.1 million

NBA Offseason Team Needs:

1. Small Forward: The Cavaliers went all in for a 3-month rental of Luol Deng, who is an unrestricted free agent. Unless Cleveland decides to overpay to keep him, the former Duke Blue Devil will likely move on to a winning franchise. Therefore, Cleveland is faced with the task of finding a replacement.

Sitting at No. 1 in the 2014 NBA Draft, there are two great options out there in Duke’s Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins of Kansas. To me, Wiggins is a better fit for the Cavaliers because of his versatility, upside, and ability to defend the wing. Adding Parker to an already ball-demanding backcourt of Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters just seems like there wouldn’t be enough ball to go around. If Cleveland ends up taking Joel Embiid with the first pick, the team must address this need in free agency.

2. Center: Anderson Varejao actually managed to stay relatively healthy this past season, but he is entering the final year of his contract. Plus, the Cavaliers used a safer approach with him by cutting back on his minutes some and using him more times than not in a reserve role. Tyler Zeller is nothing more than a backup center at the next level, which is why Cleveland will give serious thought to taking Embiid over Wiggins or Parker if Embiid’s back condition doesn’t seem to be a problem.

3. Head Coach: The hiring of Mike Brown didn’t make any sense last summer and was part of the reason Chris Grant lost his job as GM. The Cavaliers need to find a fresh face who can fix what was, at times, a bit of a troubled locker room. Cleveland was also a rather poor defensive team, so whoever gets hired to replace Brown must bring some energy and discipline to that side of the floor.

4. Stop Thinking LeBron is Coming Back: Not. Gonna. Happen.

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