You probably predicted the outcome of the 2016-17 NBA season last June when Kevin Durant decided to opt out of his final year with the Oklahoma City Thunder and join the best (regular season) team in NBA history. Everyone knew how this was going to shake out, even Cleveland Cavaliers, though they likely reserved their judgement until the final four minutes of Game 5 on Monday night. It was about as obvious as any sports-related outcome can possibly be. The addition of a 6’11” shooter who can defend every position on the court and runs the floor like a deer made this current Dubs roster utterly impossible for the Cavs to keep up with, and here’s a very dumbed down explanation for that…
The 2017 Cleveland Cavaliers are the oldest — and second shortest — team in the NBA. How were they supposed to close out on five knockdown jump shooters who move the ball better than any team in recent memory? How were they supposed to get back and defend in transition? How were they supposed to score on five super long defenders when switches rarely result in mismatches? It was going to take a miracle, and that miracle didn’t happen because Kevin Love’s feet didn’t suddenly get quicker and Richard Jefferson didn’t suddenly get four years younger and two inches taller. Luckily, the Cavs have tickets to the Finals for the rest of the decade, and the league is filled with spry, young, lanky dudes who’d gladly relocate for a title shot before the polar ice caps melt. They are as follows…
ANDRE ROBERSON (6’7″)
CONTRACT STATUS: Restricted
COMPETITORS: Oklahoma City
PROS: Young, freakishly athletic, elite defender, on a team that might be interested in draft picks given their current contracts (ahem, Russell Westbrook, ahem).
CONS: Doesn’t address the Cavaliers needs on the other end of the floor.
OTTO PORTER (6’8″)
CONTRACT STATUS: Restricted free agent
COMPETITORS: Washington, New York
PROS: Young, versatile defender, developing into a dependable deep threat.
CONS: Probably not gonna be available until next offseason.
SERGE IBAKA (6’10”)
CONTRACT STATUS: Unrestricted free agent
COMPETITORS: Toronto Raptors, highest bidder
PROS: Proven commodity with ample postseason experience, shot blocker who can defend the pick and roll, closes out well, has experience shutting down the Warriors in the playoffs.
CONS: Will need $$$.
RUDY GAY (6’8″)
CONTRACT STATUS: Player option
COMPETITORS: Uh, someone, probably.
PROS: Long, showing he’s capable of improving late in his career (last season was set to be his best before the injury), already has experience playing with LeBron in the Olympics, could be a steal, reportedly has already opted out.
CONS: In an isolation offense like the one the Cavs seem to run, Rudy Gay could be a nightmare.
GORDON HAYWARD (6’8″)
CONTRACT STATUS: Player option
COMPETITORS: Utah, Boston
PROS: I dunno, we heard he was kinda good at basketball.
CONS: Doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who’d bail on the team that drafted him for a ring, but then again, neither did Kevin Durant. Then there’s the whole money thing: he’ll want a max contract and the Cavaliers can’t handle that without trading Kevin…Love…to…the…Jazz omg omg this is an awesome trade rumor in the making!!!!&*($)