The new-look Cavs haven’t even played five games together, yet people are already calling Cleveland the favorites for landing Lebron this offseason. Considering their roster overhaul and the hellfire that is the Western Conference, the Cavs may actually have a shot. If that is the case, then Lebron will still need some more upgrades around him. According to HoopsHype, Cleveland will have an incredible $137,000,000 on the books for next season if the King opts in. For any truly high-impact free agent to sign in Cleveland, GM Koby Altman may have to move a player like Tristan Thompson or George Hill. But let’s start by thinking about what free agents would be a good fit.
*Paul George and Boogie Cousins were purposely left out of this conversation
1. JJ Redick
The 76ers sharpshooter is having his best year as a pro. While averaging a career high in points, Redick is also hitting above 40% of his 6.6 threes a game. Coaches have wised up and created action for Redick to run off of screens in order to get his shot. Lebron would love to have a shotmaker like JJ on his team. Is it realistic, though? Redick earns 23 million dollars this year, and would probably want a longer deal worth a substantial amount of money. Someone would have to be moved, but it would be worth it,
2. Avery Bradley
While AB is not the shooter Redick is, he still can hit threes at a productive rate. What’s more, Bradley is a dogged on-ball defender. He defense was lacking in Detroit but that is probably because, well, its Detroit. Noted as one of the best Steph Curry defenders in the NBA, Bradley would be an excellent pick up for Lebron.
3. Tyreke Evans
Comeback player of the year? Maybe. Evans has overcome his recent injury riddled seasons to have his best year as pro. He is nailing 40% of his pull-up threes; a sign that Evans could take some pressure of Lebron on offense. The problem, Memphis will likely pay what it takes to resign him. Perhaps a sign-n-trade could happen.
4. Rodney Hood
Despite only playing two games for the Cavs, Hood has been killing it. Often injured, Hood has played injury-free this year. A restricted free agent, someone may offer Hood more money than Cleveland is willing to match. That being said, he is a switchy forward who is lethal from beyond the arc when healthy. Altman will have his newfound stardom tested by Hood this offseason.
5. Will Barton
The Nuggets efficient role player is more of a playmaker than a shooter but, it does not mean that he cannot stretch the floor. Barton is someone who can create for himself and others and outside of Jokic, is the Nuggets best passer. An uber-athlete, Barton would thrive running the floor with Lebron as well as leading second units. He will most likely command more than the Cavs can give him but, Barton is someone who would look great playing next to the King.
The UNC product is having his most effective year yet, and the Heat are benefiting from it. 7.5 of his 9 shots per game are from distance, and Ellington drills 41% of his catch-and-shoot bombs. A true floor spacer, Ellington would be an immediate upgrade over the struggling Kyle Korver.
7. Shabazz Napier
Whoops! My UConn bias is showing but, deservedly so. Bazz is having his breakout season backing up Damian Lillard. He is finally displaying his range as well as playmaking ability. Lebron loved Bazz when he was drafted, and Cleveland could steal him as an RFA from Portland as the Trailblazers have zero cap space. He would be a great option to bring in if they trade away Hill’s massive contract.
8. Joe Harris
Bring this guy back to The Land. Harris had his NBA coming out party this year. He is the long range shooter he was drafted to be. Although an underrated athlete, Harris still struggle some on defense. Still, he can shoot the ball and may want to play on a championship contender, if the price is right.
9. Jeff Green
Green is surprisingly having a solid year for the Cavs. On a cheap deal, he is leading Cleveland’s second unit. The veteran has the size to defend guards of forwards; something needed to beat the Warriors. Cleveland should try hard to resign him for another minimum deal.
10. Luc Richard Mbah Moute
The journey man is crushing his role in Houston. LRMM is one of the rare players who can switch 1-5 on a pick and role and do a respectable job. He has learned to hit threes, too. Houston can probably only afford to bring back one of Ariza or Mbah Moute next year. LRMM will probably be the one available for the Cavs to poach, and they absolutely should.
Let me know which of these players you want to see next to Lebron!