The Cleveland Cavaliers have now officially been eliminated from playoff contention, shifting the focus to a busy offseason ahead.
Though it has missed the postseason for three straight years, Cleveland has some exciting young pieces for the future, some cap space to work with and will add another lottery-level talent in the upcoming draft.
Have a look at what's to come this offseason for the Cavs…
The 2021 NBA Draft
Picks: No. 3
Prospects to target: Jalen Green (G League Ignite), Evan Mobley (USC), Jalen Suggs (Gonzaga), Jonathan Kuminga (G League Ignite)
Barring a trade for Collin Sexton, the Cavaliers' backcourt of the future is in good hands between he and Darius Garland. They also selected defensive-minded forward Isaac Okoro in the lottery of last year's draft and, assuming they match any offer thrown at Allen this offseason, that's four spots in the team's future starting five locked up.
So what is the void that is needed to be filled? Ideally, either another wing or a forward.
With Cleveland earning the No. 3 overall pick, they could potentially take a swing on someone like USC big man Evan Mobley - who is more than capable of playing the four - or G League Ignite forward Jonathan Kuminga, who is a more offensively-developed version of Okoro. If they choose to go out on the perimeter and Ignite guard Jalen Green is still on the board, that would become a no-brainer selection for the Cavaliers.
There is an off-chance they could target Gonzaga guard Jalen Suggs with the third pick, depending on what the future holds for Sexton.
- Kyle Irving (@KyleIrv_)
Upcoming free agents
The Cavaliers have five impending free agents, with Jarrett Allen taking precedence as one of the higher-profile names on the free agent market in 2021.
Allen, who was acquired from the Brooklyn Nets in mid-January, has averaged 13.9 points and 9.8 rebounds during his time in Cleveland and the 23-year-old centre could sign a deal in the $100 million range, according to Cleveland.com's Chris Fedor.
As a restricted free agent, Allen is free to sign an offer sheet with any team willing to offer an even larger deal, but you should expect the Cavs to match whatever he signs.
Matthew Dellavedova is Cleveland's lone unrestricted free agent while rookie Brodric Thomas and second-year guard Jeremiah Martin join Allen as the team's other restricted free agents. Third-year centre Isaiah Hartenstein has a player option for the 2021-22 season but he could opt out as he has posted impressive averages of 8.7 points and 6.6 rebounds in a Cavs uniform.
|Unrestricted Free Agent(s)||Restricted Free Agent(s)||Player Option(s)|
|Matthew Dellavedova||Jarrett Allen||Isaiah Hartenstein|
With one of the league's biggest free agents on its roster, Cleveland's biggest splash will stem from its negotiations with Allen.
- Gilbert McGregor (@GMcGregor21)
One burning question
Is this the end of the Kevin Love era?
This feels like it's been the burning question in each of the past two offseasons as the 32-year-old Love doesn't exactly fit the developmental timeline of a Cavs team that's building for the future. This season, Love has missed extended time with injury and is averaging a career-lows of 10.9 points and 6.8 rebounds per game while shooting 38.6 percent from the field and 31.9 percent from 3-point range.
And while it would seem that his time there could be coming to an end, Love did proclaim that he will "rock with Cleveland until the day I die."
Love, who is owed just over $60 million over the next two seasons, is still capable of contributing to winning basketball but the question is whether or not that's in Cleveland and if a contending team sees the value in making a move for the five-time All-Star.
Will the Cavs and Love mutually decide to part ways in a manner similar to Blake Griffin and the Detroit Pistons? Could there be a multi-team deal that sends more young talent to Cleveland while Love lands with a contender? Will he, indeed, remain with the team that he won a title with for the duration of his deal?
There are a number of possible outcomes, making it an interesting situation to monitor.
One key stat
It's time to show Darius Garland some love.
Following an up-and-down rookie season, there were questions surrounding if Cleveland should have selected another guard with a top-five pick, one year removed from taking Collin Sexton with the No. 8 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.
Garland has put all the doubters to bed following a stellar sophomore season, currently averaging 17.7 points, 6.2 assists, 2.4 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game while shooting a much-improved 45.2 percent from the field and 39.4 percent from 3.
Just how impressive are those numbers?
The slim company of guards to average at least 17 points, six assists and one steal per game before turning 22 years old will answer that question for you: Magic Johnson, Isiah Thomas, Allen Iverson, Stephon Marbury, Gilbert Arenas, Chris Paul, Kyrie Irving, De'Aaron Fox, Trae Young, Luka Doncic and Garland.
When you add in his efficiency from the field (shooting at least 45 percent), that list shrinks to just Johnson, Thomas, Fox, Doncic and Garland.
Garland established himself as one of the best, up-and-coming guard talents in the league this season.
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