Although the Cleveland Cavaliers haven’t been very busy this offseason when it comes to making moves, they have been the talk of many trade and free agency rumors. After backing out of two Dwight Howard trade scenarios with the Brooklyn Nets, Orlando Magic and Los Angeles Lakers and missing on a Luis Scola bid, the Cavaliers are now focused on moving forward and adding the necessary players to supplement their young core.
Whether that means bringing in free agent Jonny Flynn, who visited the Cavaliers on Monday for a workout, or building role players through their summer league program, Cleveland can’t sit idly by while the rest of their divisional foes make the necessary acquisitions.
With that said, here are what Central Division teams in the Eastern Conference have been up to this offseason:
The Bulls have not been able to bring in any players that will help with their Derrick Rose injury situation. In fact they have let a possible replacement in C.J. Watson, who started in 25 games last season to aid the injury-troubled Rose. He also played in six playoff games, starting five of them for Rose. He averaged 9.7 points, 4.1 assists and 2.1 rebounds and is now a member of the Nets. Although not a very accurate shooter, the Bulls needed to bring back someone who had some knowledge of the system because it is very unlikely Rose will play at all next season. The Bulls can still make the playoffs, but they won’t be able to win unless Chicago lands a fearless one guard soon.
Two guard Ronnie Brewer (averaged 6.9 points, 2.1 assists and 3.5 rebounds) was waived by the team and small forward Kyle Korver (averaged 8.1 points, 1.7 assists and 2.4 rebounds) was traded to the Atlanta Hawks. Chicago received a $5 million cash exception and money for Korver.
Omer Asik received an offer sheet from the Houston Rockets, but it would be in the Bulls’ best interest to not sign the overpriced free agent who averaged 2.9 points, 4.4 rebounds and 0.8 blocks in his two seasons as a Bull. Chicago is in a bind money wise, and it would be in their best interest to let Marquis Teague work his way up to cover for Rose this season. There isn’t much the Bulls can do in free agency this year, so look for Chicago to stay still this season and accept they can’t do it without Rose.
The Cavaliers have been very busy this offseason, but have not been able to pull any major deals through so far. Signing undrafted free agent Kevin Jones out of West Virginia to a multi-year, partially guaranteed deal and bringing back Luke Haranagody on a one-year, $1.1 million contract has been the extent of moves made by the Cavaliers outside of the draft. They have been the talk of the trading market, however.
A trade that would initially have sent Howard to the Nets and power forward Kris Humphries to the Cavaliers (more than 10 players were involved in the talks) was shot down after Cleveland backed out of the deal. Then came the Los Angeles Lakers, as they became the front runners to land Howard after the Nets agreed to a long-term deal with center Brook Lopez. Rumors have been flying around, but it is now reported that the Cavaliers are talking with the Lakers and Magic to work something out. Center Andrew Bynum and Anderson Varejao would be dealt along with Howard.
Other than the crazy trade stories that have surrounded the Cleveland camp, two free agents that are still on the market and still available for the Cavaliers are point guard Jonny Flynn and power forward Anthony Tolliver. Tolliver will become a hot commodity for the Cavaliers if they do in fact trade Varejao. Flynn, who has had a rough start to his career, would come in as a backup to Kyrie Irving. Next point of business, resigning Alonzo Gee.
Although quiet, the Pistons have had a pretty successful offseason thus far. They might have traded Ben Gordon, who played three seasons in Detroit, to the Charlotte Bobcats, a good draft (Andre Drummond, Khris Middleton and Kim English) and pickups of Kyle Singler and Corey Maggette (from the Bobcats).
So far Detroit has made some great moves considering the direction of their team. Predicted to be at the bottom of the barrel once again, I think the Pistons will prove a lot of naysayers wrong. English (averaged 14.2 points, 4.2 rebounds in senior season at Missouri) will be a great replacement for Gordon and 13-year veteran Maggette is a proven scorer that will work well with Tayshaun Prince, who the Pistons said they have no interest in trading.
The two guard position is what concerns me with the Pistons. Walker Russell is still yet to be signed and English may be thrown into a bad situation if they can’t find someone to start at shooting guard once the season starts.
The most important task that the Pacers had to get done this offseason was to resign restricted free agent center Roy Hibbert, which was done by Indiana after matching the Portland Trail Blazer’s four-year, $58 million offer sheet. Letting a player like Hibbert go, who played a big role in Indiana’s postseason success, would have been detrimental to the team. That’s because the true center is a depleted position in the NBA, meaning that the 7′ 2″ big man, who averaged 12.8 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.0 blocks last season, creates matchup problems for a lot of NBA teams.
Keeping together the starting five of Hibbert, David West, Danny Granger, George Hill and Paul George and bringing in point guard D.J. Augustin, shooting guard Gerald Green and center Ian Mahinmi makes dealing Darren Collinson definitely worth it. As of right now I would give the Pacers the award for having the best offseason from the five teams in the Central Division. The Pacers were so close to knocking off the Miami Heat, taking them to six games. These moves may make the Pacers the second-best power in the Eastern Conference behind the Miami Heat.
The Bucks made a big draft-day trade to acquire center Samuel Dalembert from the Houston Rockets. They gave up unnecessary building pieces Shaun Livingston (averaged 5.0 points, 2.4 rebounds), Jon Brockman (1.1 points and 2.1 rebounds) and Jon Leuer (averaged 4.7 points, 2.6 rebounds). Since trading center Andrew Bogut last season to the Golden State Warriors for Monta Ellis, filling in the middle of the Bucks roster was a pressing issue.
Resigning Ersan Ilyasova to a five-year, $45 million deal was the most important move that the Bucks have made so far this offseason. Ilyasova is one of the most under-appreciated talents in the NBA, often drawing comparisons to Kevin Love of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Ilyasova averaged 13.0 points and 8.8 rebounds and shot at a 49.2 percent clip last season.
Milwaukee free agents Carlos Delfino and Kwame Brown (who recently signed with the Philadelphia 76ers) saw the Bucks draft replacements Doron Lamb and John Henson, two great pickups that could be role players in their rookie seasons.
Topics: Alonzo Gee, Andrew Bynum, Anthony Tolliver, C.J. Watson, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Corey Maggette, D.J. Augustin, Derrick Rose, Detroit Pistons, Ersan Ilyasova, Gerald Green, Indiana Pacers, Jonny Flynn, Kevin Jones, Kim English, Luke Harangody, Milwaukee Bucks, Omer Asik, Roy Hibbert, Samuel Dalembert