It’s been quite the offseason already for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Heck, it’s been a hectic 2 weeks.
Fresh off of a crippling defeat in the NBA Finals to the Golden State Warriors, a series in which they were clearly overmatched, the Cavs have been tied to every story and headline involving a number of available premier talents in the NBA.
The narrative regarding the Cavaliers seems more in line with a team suffering a playoff drought as opposed to a team that appeared in 3 straight NBA Finals, walking away with an NBA title in one of those seasons.
But as the reports continue to circulate that the Cavaliers are intent on working out a trade for top-flight players such as the Chicago Bulls’ Jimmy Butler or the Indiana Pacers’ Paul George, they have to keep one eye on this offseason and an eye on the next.
LeBron James can opt out of his current deal after the 2017-18 season and while many believe he will stay put in Cleveland, given James’ track record with free agency, nothing is guaranteed.
The Cavs other franchise cornerstone, Kyrie Irving, is under contract through the 2018-19 campaign with a player option for 2019-20.
According to Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times , Irving has let some of his former Team USA teammates know that he “might be willing to push for a trade, especially if he feels the Cavs’ run could end quickly with James able to opt out after next season.”
This puts even more pressure on the Cavs to make a huge splash this offseason, but their options may be limited.
The Los Angeles Lakers seem like the landing spot for Indiana’s Paul George, the Charlotte Hornets completed a trade for Dwight Howard and Chicago’s Jimmy Butler will have plenty of suitors, who can offer more appealing assets than the Cavs (unless Cleveland can find a 3rd team to help facilitate a trade).
So, Cleveland might have to target other players such as the New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony if the aforementioned Butler and George end up in places other than Cleveland.
Sure, the prospect of losing both LeBron and Kyrie seems like a nightmare scenario that could set the franchise back for decades, but is that the cost of doing business the way the Cavs, and “super teams” like them, have to pay eventually?
It’s hard to imagine Irving bolting Cleveland but if LeBron walks it seems like a real possibility and one that has to be at the forefront of the team’s thinking moving forward.