What a wild few days it has been for the fans in Cleveland! The Cavs entered last week with plenty to think about, plenty of trade options and a lot of chat surrounding the future of LeBron James. The started this week with many new pieces on their roster, and a dominant performance against the Boston Celtics, led by LeBron, of course.
In a wild week, the fans have not really had a chance to breathe, but this coming week is a good time for them as the Cavs play just once before the all-star break kicks in. This will give the team time to work out just who is going to play where, how they will split the team responsibilities, and the fans will have time to really take in just what has happened on a wild trade deadline day.
One thing is for sure, if I’m a Cavs fan, I’m feeling a lot more optimistic about my team right now than what I was before the deadline last Thursday.
That goes for both the short-term and the long-term future of the franchise, they have put together some good moves and they have secured something for the future.
There were genuine doubts hanging over the franchise a week ago, with many people, including me, concerned about where they are heading. We still don’t really know where they are heading right now, but they have shown they are prepared to mix things up and do what it takes to get a winning, dominant basketball team on the court. There is little else the fans can ask for, they wanted change and the off-court team has rolled the dice. All the fans have to hope for now is that it lands on a six.
Why Did The Cavs Press the Button?
Since Christmas, the Cavs have been the most talked about franchise in the NBA. The majority of that talk has been negative thoughts on the team and where they were heading. Those who had a more optimistic view remained calm and kept saying it would get better, but by February it still wasn’t better. That was also the view of the management team behind the franchise too I believe, they hoped to see an improvement, meaning they didn’t have to rush into making a move on deadline day.
That improvement didn’t come for the Cavs, and if anything they floundered even further as the deadline approached. The players themselves often looked a little lost on the court, as though they were waiting for help to come to them, in the hope the team would make a trade. When we reached the deadline though, the franchise made huge waves and secured a number of targets to bring life back into the Cavs, and increase their chances of success this season.
There were three reasons why the Cavs made the moves they did, and here are those reasons for you:
To Improve Team Chemistry and Culture Immediately
The Cavs team before the deadline was not performing well at all, but on paper they should have been doing a lot better than they were. That led to rumors of problems within the camp, and whether those were true or not, they needed to do something. By bringing in a number of new faces, the whole dynamic of the team has changed, the personalities in that dressing room now are very different. This was important for the Cavs, they needed positive life breathing into the team to make them perform at their full potential, something they certainly weren’t doing at the start of 2018.
Taking away the actual playing abilities of each player who has arrived and departed over the past week, this team needed freshening up. The Cavs may not have got any better on paper, but on the court with so many new faces and the changes that brings in the dressing room, they will improve for that.
To Remain Kings of The East
For the first time in a while, a team are creeping up and looking capable of dethroning the Cavs as the number one team in the east. That team is, of course, the Boston Celtics, who are probably challenging a year too soon this year, but they have everything in place to make a run at the Eastern Conference over the next five or so years. What the Celtics have built up is impressive, and something the Cavs need to watch out for.
In the long term, they will have a fight on their hands, with the Celtics continually improving, but as far as the short term goes, the Cavs will be hoping these moves have helped their cause. Prior to the deadline, with the way the Cavs were playing, I’m sure quite a few people would have fancied the Celtics to push them hard over seven games, a position the Cavs have not been in now for a few years.
These moves will freshen things up, and hopefully, from their point of view, this is what gives the edge back to the Cavs going forward for the remainder of the season.
To Continue Their ‘Win Now’ Policy
Since LeBron returned to the Cavs in 2014, they have done everything they could to put themselves in a winning position. That seems the obvious thing to do when you have one of the greats on your roster, but in recent months the Cavs have been quietly focusing on other things. They have the much talked about Brooklyn pick to play with, and they did have their own first round pick too. Those were great insurance for if LeBron decided to walk away this summer, which he may still do of course. However, what they also did is they took away their ‘win now’ mentality, something which was restored at the trade deadline thanks to the moves they made.
The Cavs traded away their first-round pick for the 2018 draft to the Lakers in a move that saw Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr move to the Cavs. This was a real sign of the intent in Cleveland, they were happy to relinquish their first-round pick in the summer for help right now, that is the type of move Cleveland had to make, to show they are itching to bounce back over the coming few weeks.
What Next for The Cavs?
Well, we have already seen a huge display from this new look Cleveland team in Boston of all places on Sunday night. The Cavs were on fire during that game, and they really laid down a marker and showed their Eastern rivals what to expect over the coming weeks. LeBron was great during the game, the whole team looked energized by what had gone off over the past few days, and this looked like a completely different group to the one we have seen recently.
That was just one game, and it is wise to keep calm after just one game, but a win over the Thunder on Tuesday would really get the fans buzzing again. After that game, we break for the all-star weekend, a break that will come at just the right time for Cleveland.
This break will allow players to rest up, and the new guys to really work on their roles for the next few weeks. When the all-star game is so close to the trade deadline, it is great for those who are buyers, even more so if a team brings in a number of players like the Cavs have.
There are some tough games coming up for the Cavs to round off February, and that will show us how far they have come after their moves if they have progressed at all. This team is trying to build and win a championship and to do that you have to be good enough, and confident enough to think you can beat the best. With so many changes to the roster in such a short period of time, no one can be sure how the Cavs are going to perform going forward. However, the slate has been wiped clean, and these players have the chance of a fresh start, a luxury not too many other teams would have in this position.
There is no doubt the Cavs and their situation will continue to draw a lot of attention over the coming weeks, and they will still be the most spoken about the team in the league. However, the moves they have made have given them a chance to break free and begin to perform like potential NBA champions once again. They still look short of quality compared to the Warriors, and the Celtics won’t lie down in the East, but right now things look a lot better for the Cavs fans out there.
We caught a glimpse of this new team in Boston over the weekend, and I’m sure there are many other people out there like me, who simply can’t wait to see more from them.