With the NBA’s new league year beginning Friday night at midnight, there has already been quite the handful of moves made. Whether it’s players joining new teams, re-signing with their current team, or surprising trades, with Paul George being traded to Oklahoma City at the top of the list, Day 1 of the new league year has been very busy. That being said, the Cleveland Cavaliers haven’t made any moves yet, and although some people may blame it on the fact that they don’t have a general manager or president, they likely would have stood put so far even if their front office was full anyways. Although they haven’t made any moves, the wine and gold have been linked to two free agents so far on Day 1 of free agency: power forward Zach Randolph and point guard Jose Calderon.
So…as I was gonna say before the sun collapsed…hear Cleveland also has interest in Zach Randolph. Contact expected via phone Saturday.
— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) July 1, 2017
Cavs have targeted Jose Calderon to be their backup point guard, per source. The interest is mutual.
— Jason Lloyd (@JasonLloydNBA) July 1, 2017
Randolph would add some much-needed depth and experience behind Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson. The 6-foot-9, 260-pound forward played in 73 games last season but started in just five, his fewest starts since he didn’t start a single game during his rookie campaign in 2001-02. Even while only playing 24.5 minutes a night, Randolph averaged 14.1 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game while shooting 44.9 percent from the floor. He is just two years removed from averaging a double-double, but the defensive-minded big man may just be ring chasing now that he just completed his 16th season in the NBA.
Calderon, like Randolph, is past his prime as well. The point guard averaged just 3.4 points and 2.2 assists while shooting 41 percent from the floor and 31.3 percent from beyond the arc in 44 games with both the Lakers and Hawks last season. Deron Williams struggled immensely in the Finals, shooting just 12.5 percent from the floor and averaging just one point and 1.2 assists in 12.2 minutes per game, but unless the Cavs are going to add a younger point guard to backup Irving, I would rather have D-Will than Calderon, if that’s who they are deciding between.
Both Randolph and Calderon would give the Cavs more depth both in at power forward and point guard, but it was clear in the Finals that the Cavs’ bench must get much younger and faster if Cleveland wants to beat the Golden State Warriors in a seven-game series. While the depth would be great, adding two 35 year olds doesn’t fulfill either of those needs.
These additions would allow Irving, Love, and Thompson to rest more during the regular season, but the Cavs’ entire focus should be on preparing for their fourth Finals appearance in as many years, especially after both George and Jimmy Butler were shipped out west, making the road to the Finals even easier for the wine and gold. Any moves the Cavs make this offseason will be focused on them getting better come next June, not improving from October to April. Would additions like Randolph and Calderon increase the Cavs chances of beating the Warriors, or whoever else comes out of the tough Western Conference? Then again, given that Cleveland is over the cap as much as they are, this may be the best they can do with their $5.1 million Mid-Level Exception.