The Cleveland Cavaliers and their fans have been dealt a massive blow for the second time in a decade. The news broke late Sunday that LeBron James has left Cleveland for a second time to join the Los Angeles Lakers.
James averaged 27.5 points, 9.1 assists and 8.6 rebounds for the Eastern Conference Champions last year. A season deemed by many to be his greatest ever as he carried a Cavs team with many new parts to the finals. The parts that remain in Cleveland are now without anyone to lead them.
Cleveland is now left with all-star forward Kevin Love and a bunch of players with bloated contracts who (including Love) underperformed last season. Love averaged 17.6 points per game and led the Cavs with 9.3 rebounds per. The team has said they would like to keep him even in event that James left in free agency. Trading Love might bode well for Cleveland and might even be the right move at this point. He has a player option for the 2019-2020 season and could bolt for free agency after this upcoming season.
The combination of Love, George Hill, J.R. Smith, and Tristan Thompson will be owed around $75 million next season. With four players commanding so much of the salary cap, Cleveland will have almost no chance at signing any free agents that can make a difference. All of them are signed throughout the 2019-2020 season and Love is the only one with the option. Trading him may also aide in getting rid of one of those other unfavorable contracts.
Another reason Cleveland should part ways with Love now is the younger players on their roster, like first round draft pick Collin Sexton. Sexton is a 6’2″ 183 pound point guard from Alabama that shows great speed, athleticism and is more of a scorer able to play above the rim. Cleveland should think about maybe getting a younger piece or two to go with Sexton and other guys like Larry Nance Jr. and Rodney Hood while they can. Putting a younger team on the court gives them a chance to grow together and maybe become good again in a few years.
Whatever Cleveland decides to do they cant fill the void left by James. Trading Kevin Love now at least gives them an opportunity to add some players that can be productive for the Cavaliers for the next five or six years, not just the next couple. He could leave for nothing and Cavaliers ownership would hate for that to happen two years in a row.