After the burning of jerseys four years ago, after incessant booing for four years, Ohio-kid LeBron James is back with the Cleveland Cavaliers. But what is next for the new (or old) team of the greatest player in the world today?
Under contract for the Cavs for 2014-2015 NBA season are point guard Kyrie Irving, ($7.07M), Anderson Varejao ($9.07M unguaranteed, but an LBJ favorite), Anthony Bennett ($5.56M), Tristan Thompson ($5.1M), Dion Waiters ($4.06M) and few other roster-fillers.
Not yet signed but expected to be under contract is 2014 NBA Draft No. 2 pick Andrew Wiggins ($4.50M). Add James’ deal, which is expected to be roughly $20.7M, and the Cavaliers will have a total salary of around $57M.
With the salary cap to be set at $63M or so, the Cavaliers have no more room to add a big name free agent but they have the trade chips to get one, particularly Kevin Love from the Minnesota Timberwolves.
As reported also in IBT Australia before the decision of LeBron, the Cavs were already targeting Love in case James indeed returns home.
With the comeback complete, reports out of Cleveland is that the they are willing to trade multiple players namely Waiters, Bennet and a future first round pick to the Timberwolves in exchange for Love.
Curiously however, James mentioned some of the rumoured players offered in his letter published in CNNSI.
“I think I can help Kyrie Irving become one of the best point guards in our league. I think I can help elevate Tristan Thompson and Dion Waiters. And I can’t wait to reunite with Anderson Varejao, one of my favorite teammates,” said James.
It appears that the initial offer from the Cavaliers could be smokescreen since they know Minnesota has little-to-no leverage on Love, who has said several times that he will opt-out of his contract after the 2014-2015 season.
The Timberwolves will most likely ask for Wiggins over Waiters and the Cavs will still be amenable to adjust their first proposition as a roster centering around James, Love and Irving still makes a very good core that can contend for the NBA title.