With the Finals over, the speculation has begun how the Cavaliers can close the gap and beat the Warriors. You’ve heard the rumors—Paul George, Jimmy Butler and Carmelo Anthony are being photoshopped into Cavalier uniforms somewhere in Cleveland right now.
The Cavaliers need to shake things up if they want to get past Golden State next year. With only 10 players under contract next season, the Cavaliers already are over the cap. To make a big splash and acquire another star, some serious moves will have to be made.
The Cavaliers big three combine for $74,796,684 million of the team’s cap next season. Kevin Love will be talked about as a potential trade chip due to his inconsistent play and huge contract.
The problem is, trading him for another star won’t improve the team enough to get to the next level. To beat the Warriors, the Cavaliers need to add another star without losing one of their core players.
Paul George and Jimmy Butler will come at too high of a cost for Cleveland. Which leaves LeBron’s friend Carmelo Anthony as the best option. Phil Jackson has publicly said Anthony would be better off with another team. At 33, Anthony will come at a lower price than George or Butler.
Let’s look at three moves the Cavaliers could make to clear cap space for Carmelo Anthony without trading Kevin Love.
3 Ways the Cavs Get Carmelo Anthony and Keep Kevin Love
Trade Tristan Thompson to the Lakers & re-sign Andrew Bogut:
Thompson is slated to make $16.4 million next season, and causes matchup issues against Golden State. Against the Warriors “Death Lineup” where Draymond Green is the center, Love and Thompson on the floor together give the Warriors an advantage. Thompson is an elite rebounder, but to challenge the Warriors Cleveland needs to adopt their front court strategy.
Zaza Pachulia and Javale McGee provided the Warriors with short bursts of rebounding and shot blocking but don’t see the floor for extended minutes. If the Cavaliers sign Bogut to minimum deal, they can play him 25 minutes a game and get the rebounding and shot blocking he provides. While also freeing up cap space to add another scorer to compete with Golden State.
The Lakers are in need of a rim protector and rebounder. Thompson is only 26 years old, and can grow with the Lakers young core.
Trade Channing Frye to the 76ers
Frye played a part in the 2015 title run but was non existent during the 2016 Finals. Set to make $7,420,912 million in the last season of his contract, Frye can’t be on the 2017-18 Cavaliers if they add another star.
To get the 76ers to take on this expiring contract Cleveland could send guard Kay Felder and a protected first round pick for guard T.J. McConnell. Who the Cavaliers were rumored to have interest in at the deadline last season. This would give the Cavaliers a playmaker for their second unit at the league minimum and free up more cap space.
Trade J.R. Smith to the Timberwolves and re-sign Kyle Korver
Smith provides the Cavaliers with instant offense when he is in the zone. The issue is that he isn’t always in the zone. Counting for $13,670,00 against the cap in 2017-18, Smith could free up some major space for Cleveland to make a big move. Iman Shumpert would enter the starting lineup and Korver could come off the bench to provide a perimeter threat.
Minnesota is in need of a pure scorer to balance out their roster. With so many great defenders with limited offensive games, Smith could be the missing piece. The Timberwolves also have enough cap to take on Smith’s contract.
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