LaMarcus Aldridge and Marc Gasol are just two of the big men who have gone deep in recent NBA playoffs that will be available this time next year as free agents. (Current apple of Cleveland’s eye, Kevin Love, hasn’t done much playoff damage.) If the Cavaliers trade No. 1 pick Andrew Wiggins for the Timberwolves’ Kevin Love–a deal the media and everybody else is chomping at the bit to see–next summer’s free agency frenzy won’t include the Cavaliers. They’ll be tied up, silent, locked out, cap quenched. They won’t even be in the conversation when the best passing big man in the game–Gasol–comes on the market. Or when post-up magician Aldridge tests the desire for his guaranteed 20 points a game.
The Cavaliers may be jumping the gun going after Love now, despite what Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski says. (Krzyzewski is Love’s pal, so he’s doing his bidding.) The Cavs haven’t even played a game with their new deadly duo of LeBron James and Kyrie Irving–and LeBron has been to the finals with far less firepower than that. (See Daniel “Boobie” Gibson, during LeBron’s first stint in Cleveland.) Does Cleveland really want to muzzle itself for next year–when if they don’t make the trade even Kevin Love himself may be available again? Sometimes at the party–and this summer has been a basketball party in Cleveland–you eat too much cake. You realize afterwards you should have stopped when you–to use some basketball terminology–had enough pieces. The Cleveland Cavaliers might already have enough pieces to win in a weak-though-improving Eastern Conference. But if they don’t, shouldn’t they leave some options open? LeBron James has proven he knows about leaving his options open. In fact you know who’s usually an open option on offense? Marc Gasol.