The biggest Nets offseason since 2013 is getting closer and closer. Sean Marks will be tasked for looking under every rock for talent. The draft. Trades. Free agency. The globe. This series of looks at all 30 NBA rosters, and who the Nets can poach, takes a look at the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The defending champs are making another deep playoff run, and will likely focus the summer of 2017 on continuing to reload the roster. However, they will also be over the cap, and without a first rounder to trade until 2021, which limits their team building ability. Accordingly, the questions as to the Nets and Cavs are simple. Do the Nets have pieces the Cavs would see as upgrades? And can the Nets poach and of the Cavs’ free agents that make sense.
First things first. LeBron, Kyrie, Love, and Tristan are not going to be Nets next season. JR Smith is also likely staying put. From there, you can at least discuss their roster.
With no first rounders to trade until 2021, the Cavs lack the juice to deal for Brook Lopez or Jeremy Lin. Accordingly, a big move is unlikely.
The most obvious piece to consider is Kyle Korver, as he is a free agent. Perhaps the Warriors expose his defense and the Cavaliers look elsewhere this summer. However, they lack the cap space to replace him and traded a first round pick to get him. That makes me believe Dan Gilbert will pony up to keep him around. Korver is unlikely for the Nets, even if Gilbert shies away, because he likely wants to win, and will likely be hesitant to latch on with a rebuild unless he secures a ring this year. But if he secures a ring, the Cavs likely will not let him go. Plus, while Korver has a connection with Atkinson, it makes little sense to pay a player of his age, and Korver will want a payday if he leaves contention for rebuilding.
From there, perhaps, for belt tightening purposes, or to relieve salary congestion to do a deal with another team, the Cavs will look to dump Iman Shumpert. If they did, the Nets would have the cap space to absorb him, at little outgoing cost. However, a salary dump feels unlikely in the LeBron era. In addition, given Shumpert’s pending legal issues, he may not fit the “high character” culture Sean Marks seeks to build.
If the Cavaliers get beat badly by the Warriors, they may feel Channing Frye is no longer a fit, as he is a one trick pony who shoots the 3, and does little else. Kevin Love already does much of that at the 4. In that instance, perhaps Frye would be salary dumped — this is highly unlikely, but the Nets could easily partake in such sweepstakes. If they did, they would receive a competent stretch 4 on what has become a good contract. Frye’s efficiency is inflated by being on such a great team where stars feed him easy looks, but he still has value, even on a team like Brooklyn.
The pickings then become rather slim. Richard Jefferson is under contract; he likely stays in Cleveland or retires. James Jones is a good locker room veteran but has been following LeBron around since 2010. Kay Felder could be a piece Cleveland dumps, but the Nets do not need another young point guard at that end of roster level. Derrick Williams has little to offer, as does Edy Taveres. Deron Williams? You have a better chance of recruiting LeBron James by hiring his primary care physician.
Couple the above with the Cavaliers outgoing second round picks until 2019, and the Nets likely cannot poach the champs for much of anything this summer.