As we play out the final month of the 2011-'12 NBA season, we take a look at each franchise. Who emerged, what went wrong, what lies ahead. A look at post season chances, long term potential and upgrades possible in this summer's NBA draft. We continue in the Central Division of the Eastern Conference with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Make sure and get Fantasy Alarm's award winning 2012 Fantasy Baseball iPhone App!
If there is ever a question if one player can make a franchise in the NBA, it certainly has been answered in Cleveland. Lebron James' departure has turned the Cavaliers from an annual contender to a regular at the NBA draft lottery proceedings. Top draft pick Kyrie Irving is a solid start to what promises to be a long rebuilding process. Tristan Thompson was a "safe" pick and has shown the ability to contribute in the long term.
With Antawn Jamison's $15 million dollar contract finally expiring, the Cavaliers figure to have in excess of $25 million in cap space. Cleveland had trouble attracting big time free agents when Lebron was in town, it doesn't figure to be any easier now.
The Cavaliers have three first round draft picks, however Sacramento's is lottery protected and will be parlayed until 2013 at the earliest. Cleveland's own pick figures to be upper-mid lottery with the other pick late in the first round, coming from the Lakers in the Ramon Sessions deal. The Cavs also have an additional high second round pick coming from the Lebron departure. Four picks in the top 35-40 will help the process. Home state star Jared Sullinger might make sense to help put fans in the seats with the top selection. A true center like Vanderbilt's Festus Ezeli late in round one. In the second, why not another Ohio State star in shooting guard William Buford and big ten star Draymond Green from Michigan State.
The Cavaliers have already used their amnesty clause on Baron Davis.
The Good: Kyrie Irving is the real deal and a player the Cavs can build around. Tristan Thompson has had flashes and can eventually start alongside a true center. Antwan Jamison's contract is finally done and brings a great deal of cap space.
The Bad: The post-Lebron era is as bad as expected. Cleveland has very little to work with outside of last season's lottery picks. Salary cap space is plentiful, but Cleveland isn't high on the list of would be free agents.
Cleveland has 7 players under contract for next season.
Luke Walton, Tristan Thompson, Omri Casspi, Samardo Samuels
Kyrie Irving, Daniel GIbson
Alonzo Gee, Luke Harangody, Semih Erden, Manny Harris, William Buford, Jared Sullinger, Draymond Green, Festus Ezeli
Who Are The Experts Taking and When? Check Out The Latest ADP from The NFBC!
Listen to The Fantasy Alarm Show Saturday & Sunday from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM EST and Wednesday 8:00 PM EST to 10:00 PM EST on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio XM channel 87/Sirius 210.
Tom Blaz is a writer for Fantasy Alarm and co-owner of The Recruiting Eagle a website focusing on Auburn University Athletics.
Talking Hoops: The Home Stretch
Talking Hoops: Week 23 Pickups
Talking Hoops: Injury Parade
Talking Hoops: Week 22 Pickups
Talking Hoops: Week 21 Roster Adjustment Options
Talking Hoops: Week 20
Talking Hoops: Week 19 Roster Adjustmemts
Talking Hoops: Post Trade Deadline Waiver Candidates
Talking Hoops: Trade Deadline
Talking Hoops: Southwest Division @ Midseason
Talking Hoops: Pacific Division @ Midseason
Talking Hoops: Northwest Division @ Midseason
Talking Hoops-All Star Weekend
Talking Hoops: Southeast Division @ Midseason
Rising Stars Challenge- Keeper League Dream Team
Grizzlies Finally Trade Rudy Gay
Talking Hoops: Central Division Mid-Season
Projecting All-Star Reserves: Western Conference
Projecting All-Star Reserves: Eastern Conference
Talking Hoops: Atlantic Division Mid Season