The best move the Cleveland Cavaliers made this offseason wasn’t using their number one draft pick on Anthony Bennett (early on looking like a bad choice), but signing Jarrett Jack from the Golden State Warriors.
The Cavs don’t have time or the patience for projects and rebuilding. After three consecutive lottery picks, one of them being someone already regarded as one of the brightest future stars in the NBA, it’s time to find themselves back in the playoffs for the first time since LeBron James left the team.
Andrew Bynum might turn out to be the biggest move of the summer. Not just for the Cavs, but in the entire league, including that Dwight Howard thing in Houston. But Bynum is a huge risk, which the Cavs are aware of considering the deal they offered him.
Jack signed a four-year deal worth $25 million, not getting that kind of offer from the Golden State Warriors after option out of the final year on his contract ($4 million), as expected. Considering the season he had and the postseason as well, Jack deserved to be getting that kind of salary upgrade.
He averaged 12.9 points per game coming off the bench, but it wasn’t just the numbers. Jack played most of the crunch minutes the Warriors had to offers, giving the team a ball handler that frees up a tired Stephen Curry at that point from ball handling duties. The Cavs are hoping this works the same way for them now.
The backcourt of Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters should be the one that starts most of the time, but that doesn’t mean the Cavs might not try something a little bit different with Waiters being the offensive firepower off the bench as a sixth man, while Jack gives Irving the chance to operate off the ball for certain stretches each night. That might not be the best option for Cleveland, but at least it’s an option.
There’s also the issue of Mike Brown not being the most creative of head coaches on the offensive side, but spending some time away from the Cavs might have changed him a little bit. Irving is a star, but he isn’t as dominant as LeBron James or Kobe Bryant, two players Brown got to coach. However, with Jack on board, and Bynum hopefully healthy (doesn’t have to be brilliant), the Cavaliers have enough pieces to finish in the top 8 of the East, which seems to be a bit more loaded than usual.