A week following the Cleveland Cavaliers clinching the city's first major sports championship in 52 years, Cavs general manager David Griffin had plenty of interesting statements on ESPN's Insiders show with Amin Elhassan, Marc Stein, and Brian Windhorst.
As reigning champions this off-season, Griffin hopes that the team can stay the same, at least for the most part. Along with hoping to bring back the same core group of players, he also mentioned that he feels as though the team hasn't even reached its full potential yet, which is incredible to think since they are coming off of an NBA championship. Griffin also gave many thanks to owner Dan Gilbert and others.
"We’ve been really fortunate. Ownership has invested in this group to such a huge degree and when we were the largest tax payer in the league last year - and I think the second highest ever - there were times during the year where I felt really, really bad about having spent that much of their money. But I do think that you saw the core of our team - it fits together, it’s capable of doing some very special things and I do think we would like to keep it together and I really feel like - and I think I said this to Marc after the game - I think our best basketball is in front of us because we finally organically grew to the point that we were ready to achieve something together. And so I expect that you’re going to see better play from Kyrie Irving, who I think took a huge jump both as an individual talent and as a winner throughout these playoffs. I think Kevin [Love]’s fit with us is much more clearly defined. So we intend to keep these group together and see what we are capable of."
With plenty of the team locked up for the future, there are a few notable players that are free agents this off-season, including Matthew Dellavedova and J.R. Smith. among others. Along with decisions to make in free agency, the front office also has a bit to think about Kevin Love, who was rumored to be involved in many trades since last off-season.
http://www.scout.com/cleveland-sports/story/1678892-j-r-smith-to-become-free-agentLove, who played very well the first three rounds of the playoffs, struggled the first six games against the Golden State Warriors, and then played much better in the clinching Game 7, seems to be a lock to be donning the wine and gold in 2016-17. In the days following the Cavaliers winning the Finals, head coach Tyronn Lue mentioned that the power forward will be back with the Cavs and in the interview on Sunday, Griffin echoed the same. So unless the Cavs get some outrageous deal that is too hard to resist, K-Love will be back next year.
Dellavedova, who is a restricted free agent, is expected to get plenty of money thrown his way, especially with the salary cap increasing. A serviceable point guard who can knock down shots from deep along with creating a bit on his own and being an above-average defender, he will garner plenty of interest across the league. The only question will be if Gilbert and company decide to match any offer teams make. The Cavs will be able to match any offer a team gives to Delly, no matter how much it may be.
Smith, who is an unrestricted free agent, has made it clear that he wants to remain a Cavalier, but that could all change if a team offers the sharpshooter a lot more money than the wine and gold will. With his best friend LeBron James already saying that he will remain in Cleveland, the guard could even give the Cavs a hometown discount, but that is not yet known.
A player that may be seeing his days come to an end in Cleveland is Timofey Mozgov. Playing his way out of the rotation this season, he will likely get a deal from a team that needs a big-man, but he will likely receive too much money, money that the wine and gold will not be able to afford.
Two free agents that will all but certainly be back with the Cavs if they want to be (and don't retire) are James Jones and Richard Jefferson. If I had to guess though, both will return and be able to play for back-to-back titles the upcoming season.