If it comes down to a small contract, regardless, I wonder how many of these players will just take the minimum to play for a better team like San Antonio or Cleveland. Not only will the Cavs already have players on contracts that are under paid compared to what newer free agents are getting but they can also stand to be the frontrunners to get quality veterans still leftover. Yes some of the big contracts they gave out last year aren’t looking too well.
Shumpert didn’t come close to his pay, and Kevin Love had his tough stretches but I’d rather pay them their contracts versus what a Beal or Howard got this year. Another key implication of these contracts from last year is going to be in trades. As with any market, the best deals are the ones you want and somebody who signed under the old cap for much less is going to have more value for a team.
If the Cavs wanted to reshape the team, they should be able to get more for trading an older contract with somebody locked up long term. It may only be to the extent of a first round pick for the contract but a first round pick can mean a lot. Remember when the Baron Davis deal happened and that pick came out to be Kyrie Irving?
The Cavs are not a player in free agency this year because of last year, but count them among the free agency winners of this season. The reasons are simple; they got players on good contracts signed long term, they didn’t overpay anybody in free agency, they still have an opportunity to bring back the two free agents on the team that mattered most in JR Smith and Richard Jefferson, and they still stand to bring in a veteran player or two in the coming months.
The Cavs drafted Kay Felder to replace Dellavedova, but might bring in a free agent to add some size on the depth chart. A couple of intriguing names for me are David Lee and Chris Kaman. They are both veterans that have made their share of money and will not be a hot name in free agency. However both can still offer some depth and are more versatile big men that may do better in Ty Lue’s up tempo system.
With practically only being able to give out minimum contracts, the Cavs are not going to be able to sign any restricted or younger players that would demand more money than that. It will likely take some time to play out but to keep a championship team together for the most part is impressive.
As with any good team, it’s impossible to keep everyone especially when the contracts are up, but the ones that have been successful like the Spurs have held onto Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili for the long run. The Cavs now have that structure in place in the large part because of the 2015 offseason. That offseason can be the one that is remembered for shaping the organization and structure of the Cavaliers team and the possibility of bringing multiple NBA Championships to the Land.
Don’t fret over the few lost players or not signing any major free agents people. Last year was the one that mattered and the team delivered on it. Among the teams in the NBA, there is so much going right for Cleveland that the setup going forward is better than most people will give it credit for with the free agency buzz. Remember it’s the long term implications that matter not the short ones. While the buzz around the players switching teams is what the focus is on now, the moves of one year ago are the ones having the true impact now and Cleveland is reaping the benefits.
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