How to KEEP LeBron Vol. 3 – Cavs Edition

The Grousbeck brothers & Stephen Pagliuca. Joseph Lacob. Tilman Fertitta. Peter Holt.

Chances are, you have NO idea who any of those people are without Googling them.

You know who they are ?

They are the (majority) owners of the Boston Celtics, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, and San Antonio Spurs, respectively

You don’t know their names because you are not supposed to know their name. You should know their General Managers instead. Danny Ainge, Bob Meyers, Daryl Morey, R.C. Buford. Four of the best GMs/Team Presidents in the NBA.

Dan Gilbert. You know who he is. That’s part of the problem.

Gilbert fired David Grifin, a GM who is in the league of the 4 previously mentioned gentleman, because they did not see eye to eye on a deal to acquire Paul George without a commitment from LeBron James post-2018. Gilbert wanted this commitment because he felt that HIS security was more important than LeBron’s comfort and flexibility. Griffin, like any logical GM knew that the best way to secure LeBron’s comfort, was to give him flexibility while also leveraging as many resources as possible to try to win a title. Gilbert was scared of uncertainty. Griffin embraced it. Because of Gilbert’s fear, he likely will lose LeBron for nothing in about a month’s time.

I think everyone realizes it. The mid-season deals that happened showed how a team that is scared to lose its present, and scared to lose its future, is doomed to lose both. The Cavs could have acquired DeAndre Jordan or Kemba Walker, but were not creative enough or bold enough to make it happen (should have included the Brooklyn pick but put Top 5 protection on it). Knowing they would be facing Kevin Durant, they got rid of their best perimeter defender in Jae Crowder, and added a bunch of youth and long-term salary. They traded Dwayne Wade, still a strong bench player who has ample playoff experience for basically nothing. They made all of these moves without LeBron’s input and then tried to save face by informing him of the moves just before the deadline. They were building for post-LeBron. And so they shall reap.

I don’t know if Koby Altman, Griffin’s successor,  got that direction from Gilbert or is charting his own path on it’s own. But it is a STUPID one. If they lose LeBron, the Cavs will still have too much talent to truly bottom-out and do a full rebuild. But they also will not have enough to compete in the East. They will be mired in mediocrity. Even if they use this 8th pick in the Draft, that they have so feverishly cherished since the extremely stupid decision to trade Kyrie Irving, it’s unlikely they will unearth a superstar.  When you have generational, superstar, GOAT level talent, you do whatever you can to build around them. You will have decades to rebuild after they are gone. But if you catch lightning in a bottle., you keep it there.

If I was Altman … I would call Mitch Kupchak and Chris Wallace up. Those two teams are in very interesting situations, and their situations can help me.

Mitch Kupchack is the new GM of the Charlotte Hornets and well-known for his work in rebuilding the post-Shaq Lakers into the juggernaut of size, length and power that won back-to-back titles at the end of the 2000s. He inherits a team in dire need of a reboot, with a star player headed for unrestricted free agency. They are in a bad spot. If they re-sign Kemba Walker to a max deal, they will be stuck in the mediocrity rut, picking between 10 and 15 every year, praying for a miracle. However, letting their star walk for nothing is also not an option. What to do ?

Similarly, Chris Wallace, a former GM of the Celtics and current mainstay at the helm in Memphis has a conundrum. The directive that is emanating out of Tennessee is that the Grizzlies need to compete next year. This is a ludicrous thought as the Grizz current structure, paying monstrous contracts to two terrific, but support-level players (Mike Conley, and Marc Gasol)  is absurd. They should be rebuilding … But it seems like they are trying their best to position themselves to be a playoff team in 2018-2019. Rumors abound that they are shopping the 4th overall pick in the Draft for either an impact player and/or a way to get out of Chandler Parsons disastrous contract.

Here’s the remedy:

Hornets trade : Kemba Walker + Michael Kidd Gilchrist + Marvin Williams + #11 overall pick 

Hornets get: #4 overall pick + #8 overall pick + Chandler Parsons + Jordan Clarkson

Why for Charlotte: It’s time to start anew in Charlotte. This move allows the Hornets to get two building blocks in a draft that is about 7-8 players deep in true difference makers. Yes they have to eat a couple of unsightly contracts but those will both be off the books by 2020. Adding the two picks they select in this years draft + Malik Monk + whomever they get in 2019 will be a strong core with which to move forward with.

Grizzlies trade: Chandler Parsons + #4 overall pick

Grizzlies get: Michael Kidd Gilchrist + Marvin Williams + #11 overall pick 

Why for Memphis: Memphis wants to compete now and Williams + Kidd-Gilchrist bring you two forwards who can bring a different dimension to the Grizzlies. Williams is a lethal shooter at the 4, and paired with Gasol would allow the Grizzlies to play true 5-out basketball. Kidd-Gilchrist would give them a true lock-down perimeter defender, something they have lacked since Tony Allen’s departure.  They shed Parson’s albatross contract which is right there with Ryan Anderson for worst contract in the NBA. And they still get the 11th pick which they could use to add a talented player like Lonnie Walker or Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to their core.

C- Marc Gasol/Deyunta Davis

PF – JaMychal Green/ Marvin Williams

SF – Dillon Brooks/ Michael Kidd-Gilchrist 

SG – Tyreke Evans (re-signed)/ Marshon Brooks

PG – Mike Conley/ Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (11th pick) 

That is a very balanced and deep roster. Definitely not title worthy, but could get to the second round of the layoffs (which for whatever reason appears to be Memphis’ goal … silly but whatever)

Cavs trade: Jordan Clarkson + #8 pick.

Cavs get: Kemba Walker

Why for Cleveland: LeBron James. You made an ill-fated attempt to trade away a secondary creator that helped LeBron and forced him to shoulder the load all season. Kemba is not Kyrie, but he’s definitely a step in the right direction.

Cleveland will also still have the tax-payer MLE. They can target a guy like Avery Bradley, but he likely will get bigger offers. What they could do instead is to use it on a guy like Kenatvious Caldwell-Pope. KCP has a history of being a streaky outside shooter, yet whe he got to LA last season, his outside shot went from streaky to deadly. Between he and JR Smith, you would have an excellent combo of 3 and D-wings to flank next to LeBron.

C- Kevin Love/ Tristan Thompson/ Larry Nance

PF – LeBron / Jeff Green (re-signed) 

SF- Rodney Hood (re-signed)/ Kyle Korver  

SG – Kentavious Caldwell-Pope/ JR Smith  

PG – Kemba Walker/ George Hill 

That’s a very, versatile team. Every reserve listed could play both with and in place of the player listed above them allowing you to go big-or-small, based on the matchup. This would be a team worthy of challenging the Warriors and while they probably would still need a bit more to get the job done, they could make it a good series.

However, unlike the previous two scenarios I outlined … I have ZERO confidence that Koby Altman, Dan Gilbert, and the misfit organization that is the Cleveland Cavaliers would have the creativity, or the vision to make a move like this and secure the present and future. Such a shame.

Comments ? Leave them below !





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