What’s long-term plan with some of these bench scrubs? For example Casspi, Boobie, Miles, Sloan? @eaglflyrs
I’m going to interpret long-term to mean beyond this season. The truth is, all four of them could be gone next year. Casspi and Gibson are both free agents after the season, although the Cavs can control Casspi’s rights by extending to him a qualifying offer worth about $3.3 million (he’s making about $2.3 million this season). Gibson is an unrestricted free agent, although he has already said he wants to come back.
The Cavs hold the option on Miles’ contract for next season and Sloan is playing on a non-guaranteed contract this season and could be released at any time if the Cavs want to add another player to their 15-man roster. If I had to guess, the player most likely to return from that quartet is Gibson. Miles would be second.
Can the Cavs get to where they want to be with Kyrie as their best player? Or is he our Westbrook, waiting for our Durant? @STAT_32
Great question. To understand the Cavs’ philosophy, imagine a pole with three big stars hanging off it — a No. 1, a No. 2 and a No. 3. The No. 1 is the elite of the elite type of player — Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade, the latter two when they were in their primes.
They’re difficult to find and there aren’t many of them around. From the Cavs’ perspective, it’s tough for a point guard to be that No. 1 because he has so many other responsibilities and must keep everyone else involved. It’s difficult, but not impossible. Can the Cavs win with Irving as their No. 1? Sure. Irving can be a superstar, but the Cavs would like to consider him a really, really good No. 2 rather than their No. 1.
That leaves them still searching for a No. 1, and it’s not Dion Waiters. He’s likely a pretty good No. 3.
Have the Cavs seen enough of Tristan Thompson’s lack of offense yet? I have. @Tu_Pop_Sr
The Cavs knew Thompson would be a project on offense when they took him. They drafted him for his defense, his energy, his work ethic and his hustle. They still believe he can eventually develop into an adequate offensive player, but it doesn’t appear as if that will happen anytime soon.
Byron Scott said he wanted Thompson to average a double-double this season and thought it was possible based on Thompson’s rebounding, dunks and put-backs. The problem is, those dunks and put-backs keep getting blocked at an alarming rate.
Thompson’s ceiling is probably a nice rotation piece and hustle guy off the bench on a championship team. Granted, teams typically want more out of the No. 4 pick in the draft, but the No. 2 pick from that draft (Derrick Williams) can’t get off the bench with the Minnesota Timberwolves. It was a bad draft, period. The Cavs took the guy they felt could at least carve out a serviceable career in the NBA.
What’s the biggest need this team should address for next season? @michaelmonea
This question sort of goes with the last one. The Cavs still haven’t successfully addressed the small forward position since LeBron James left. They tried with Omri Casspi, but that clearly didn’t work. Alonzo Gee can be a top-eight rotation piece on a good team, but he’s not a starter on an elite team. So the Cavs still need a small forward, but I’d prefer to see them take another big, particularly if Anderson Varejao is traded before the draft. A power forward with high upside could start the process of shifting Thompson toward the bench role he is destined for on a championship-caliber team.
I need to correct a question I answered incorrectly in this space a couple of weeks ago. The Cavs’ swap rights with the Los Angeles Lakers pick in next summer’s draft is lottery protected, meaning if the Lakers miss the playoffs, the Cavs can’t swap their pick with the Miami Heat’s first-round pick. Despite the Lakers’ woeful start, the odds of this happening are still minimal. The Lakers are still most likely going to the playoffs, and the Cavs will likely take their pick and give them the Heat’s first-round pick in return. I apologize for any confusion and for the error.