Ranking the Cleveland Cavaliers' Offseason Acquisitions

Greg Swartz@@CavsGregBRCleveland Cavaliers Lead WriterAugust 1, 2014

Ranking the Cleveland Cavaliers' Offseason Acquisitions

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    It's been a historic offseason for the Cleveland Cavaliers, one that may still be far from over.

    The signing of LeBron James and drafting of Andrew Wiggins have certainly headlined the summer activity, although they hardly constitute everything the Cavs have done.

    General manager David Griffin has been very active, bringing in a whopping 10 new players and a head coach through signings and trades.

    While some may turn into pieces used in a later deal, we'll still include them for now.

    Here's how every new Cavalier stacks up and what they'll be bringing to the team.

No. 9: Malcolm Thomas, Erik Murphy and John Lucas III

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    Acquired Through: Trade

    Thomas, Murphy and Lucas III were all acquired in a late-July trade for Carrick Felix, Cleveland's second-round pick in 2013.

    To lump them together isn't meant as disrespect, but rather with the belief that all three will likely be dealt again by the start of the season.

    While Felix is set to make just north of $800,000 this coming year, the three players the Cavs acquired represent about $3.3 million in non-guaranteed money. Since the Cavaliers are now over the salary cap, they must match up salaries with incoming players in future trades. Having that $3.3 million instead of $800,000 to use as trade chips, especially since teams can waive those players and save money in the process, should prove valuable in a future deal.

    While it's possible all three could suit up for Cleveland this fall, it appears these acquisitions were made simply as a building block to a larger trade.

No. 8: Brendan Haywood, C

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    Acquired Through: Trade

    The Cavs flipped forward Scotty Hopson to the Charlotte Hornets for Haywood and rookie forward Dwight Powell.

    Much like the previous deal, Griffin is likely using this as a way to stockpile trade assets moving forward.

    Haywood missed the entire 2013-14 season with a stress fracture in his left foot. There's been no definitive word on if he'll be able to play for the Cavs, although Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio wrote in his weekly chat, "I wouldn't rule out Haywood. He may be motivated to play this season, and if he is, he'll be an underrated acquisition."

    Cleveland could definitely use a healthy, happy Haywood this season. The team only has one true center, Anderson Varejao, who has faced his own injury concerns in the past.

    If Haywood is once again unable to suit up this season, his contract does hold significant value when talking trades. He's owed just $2.2 million this year and has a $10.5 million non-guaranteed contract for next season. If the Cavs hold on to Haywood until next summer, they can use his contract to help match up salaries with a team looking to save money.

No. 7: Dwight Powell, PF

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    Acquired Through: Trade

    The other part of the Hopson-Haywood trade, Powell is an intriguing rookie.

    The No. 45 overall pick by the Hornets in this year's draft, Powell is an athletic, 6'11" forward who can shoot and put the ball on the floor. During his senior year at Stanford, Powell averaged 14.0 points, 6.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists.

    This seems to be a nice acquisition for new coach David Blatt, he of the Princeton offense. Having spent 30 years playing and coaching professionally in Europe, Blatt loves big men who can pass and shoot the ball with range.

    While adding another rookie may be considered a head-scratching move for a team with so much youth already, it's important to note that Powell spent four years at Stanford and is 23 years old. This makes him the same age or older than eight other players on the Cavs current roster, including Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters and Tristan Thompson.

    As of now, Powell's job will be to back up Thompson and Anthony Bennett while giving Blatt a stretch-4 to develop off his bench.

No. 6: Joe Harris, SG

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    Acquired Through: Draft

    Cleveland needed more shooting heading into the 2014 NBA draft and quenched this thirst by scooping up Joe Harris with the 33rd overall pick.

    Another four-year collegian, Harris lit up the ACC via his outside shooting with the Virginia Cavaliers. Griffin talked about what he'll bring to the team, via Karen Deran of the Northeast Ohio Media Group:

    Joe Harris is a very good complementary piece for us as a shooter - somebody we had rated very highly, much higher than 33 overall. And somebody that we believe is one of the better, if not the best shooters, in this draft off of screens, off of screen action and movement. And that's also a big part of what coach Blatt likes to do. So from a fit standpoint, he's ideal.

    With ball-dominant guards like Irving and Waiters, the team needed a catch-and-shoot wing to come off screens and knock down open shots.

    Given the signings of the following two players, however, Harris will have to fight for time during his rookie year.

No. 5: James Jones, SG/SF

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    Acquired Through: Free Agency

    Jones was brought in on a one-year deal after spending the previous six seasons with the Miami Heat.

    With Jones, it's all about the deep ball.

    A career 40.3 percent three-point shooter, Jones connected on a personal-best 51.9 percent last season. Rarely leaving the arc, Jones attempted 79 percent of his total shots from deep in 2013-14.

    What makes him particularly valuable is his floor-spacing and movement without the ball. Jones can sit back and wait for players like James, Irving and Waiters to drive the lane and kick out to him should they get double-teamed. Jones made a whopping 52 percent of his catch-and-shoot three-pointers last season, a higher number than guys like Kyle Korver and Stephen Curry, per NBA.com/Stats.

    At 33 years of age, Jones will also help bring a veteran, champion voice to a young locker room.

No. 4: Mike Miller, SG/SF

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    Acquired Through: Free Agency

    Another well-regarded shooter, Miller is reunited with James, who personally recruited him to Cleveland.

    Miller brings a lot to the table at a bargain price. He passed up a three-year, $12 million deal with the Denver Nuggets to sign for two years and $5.5 million with the Cavs, according to Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com.

    While he's had his share of injuries in the past, Miller played in all 82 games for the Memphis Grizzlies last season. A key contributor off the bench, Miller averaged 7.1 points in 20.8 minutes while knocking down 45.9 percent of his three-pointers, third-best in the NBA.

    Miller stands to be the primary backup to James at small forward, bringing some firepower to the Cavaliers bench.

No. 3: David Blatt, Head Coach

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    Acquired Through: Signing

    After an extensive head coaching search, the Cavs settled on Blatt, formerly of Maccabi Tel Aviv.

    Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert was thrilled to bring in Blatt, telling ESPN.com:

    David Blatt is going to bring some of the most innovative approaches found in professional basketball anywhere on the globe. Time and time again, from Russia to Israel and several other prominent head coaching jobs in between, David has done one thing: 'win.'

    Blatt should dramatically improve the Cavaliers offense with his love of ball movement, screening and avoiding isolation plays—basically the opposite of Mike Brown's offense a year ago.

    While he's very respected around the basketball world, Blatt will have to adjust to the NBA game and a roster with so many new pieces.

    Overall, this was a smart hire for the Cavaliers, especially when paired with new assistant coach Tyronn Lue.

No. 2: Andrew Wiggins, SG/SF

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    Acquired Through: Draft

    Wiggins will definitely be a Cavalier—until Aug. 23, at least.

    While talks of a Wiggins-for-Kevin Love swap have to rest for 30 days following the former's contract signing, it appears the Cavs made the right draft choice.

    Wiggins showed off a plethora of dunks, blocks and other feats of athleticism during the summer league. He led the Cavaliers to a 3-1 start while averaging 15.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game.

    Should Wiggins stay with the Cavs, he'd be an excellent fit at shooting guard between Irving and James. Able to help out the defense from Day 1, Wiggins could work on his corner threes and mid-range game without having the pressure of carrying the team.

    It's also very possible that Wiggins' development will come in Minnesota.

    According to ESPN.com's Marc Stein and Brian Windhorst:

    While the Cavs naturally would prefer to keep Wiggins, their motivation to complete this deal for Love is understandable given how well the big man's combination of elite rebounding, passing and long-range shooting ability should complement James' game.

    Wiggins is 10 years younger than James and could help carry the Cavaliers from one superstar-led team to another, should they have the patience to wait.

    The opportunity to acquire a player like Love in order to win now, however, may prove to be too great.

No. 1: LeBron James, SF

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    Acquired Through: Free Agency

    The No. 1 acquisition in possibly the history of the NBA, James coming back to Cleveland in his prime is a script made for Hollywood.

    It also means the Cavs are automatically back in title contention, given all that James brings to a team.

    James has finished first in win shares five of the past six years, and is the NBA's active leader in PER (27.8). He's made 10 straight All-Star teams and eight total All-NBA First Teams.

    This time around, the surrounding cast has been upgraded. Grizzled veterans like Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Shaquille O'Neal, Antawn Jamison and Mo Williams have been replaced by young up-and-coming talent like Irving, Waiters, Thompson and Wiggins.

    Now set to turn 30 this December, James will need to discover the fine line of knowing when to push his body to the limit and when to ease off and defer to teammates. Age and mileage now become a factor, especially after making four straight trips to the NBA Finals.

    Cleveland was arguably a playoff team heading into the 2014-15 season after drafting Wiggins.

    With James, they should be among the favorites in the Eastern Conference.


    All stats provided by Basketball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.