It was almost a fairy tale ending in Cleveland, Ohio. The team went from picking 1st overall in 2014 to a trip to the 2015 NBA Finals.
Key word: almost. With a reserve starting a point guard, a couple of role-players, and LeBron James, the Cavaliers almost did the impossible.
It wasn’t supposed to be impossible: this was the scene LeBron came back to perform on, and it was the opportunity of a lifetime for superstars Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving who had experienced postseason basketball before teaming up with The King.
James sure held up his part. You couldn’t ask for a better Final’s performance than LeBron’s. Unfortunately, with Love resigned to watch from the bench in a suit and Irving still recovering from surgery to repair the knee injury he suffered in Game 1, James’ incredible showing won’t be remembered in 10 years when history looks back on this series.
Well the Cavs are facing another problem now—payday.
When you bring a lot of talent to one team, you need to be prepared to shell out a lot of money. Championships don’t come easy, and as the Cavaliers are trying to prove, they don’t come cheap either.
$110 million for Kevin Love. $80+ for Tristan Thompson. $40 million for Iman Shumpert. Nearly $16 million a season for Irving and another $10 million a year for Anderson Varejao.
And they still need to sign Matthew Dellavedova and J.R. Smith. Oh yeah, and LeBron James.
Dan Gilbert is worth $4.8 billion, so I guess these massive contracts combined with the luxury tax is lunch money to him.
Then again, what choice does he have? Gilbert wants what’s best for his team like every other owner, and with Tiago Splitter, DeMarre Carroll, and Greg Monroe joining already-competitive Eastern Conference teams, things won’t be getting any easier en route to the 2016 NBA Finals.
The Cavs have done a great job of keeping everyone together, but they can’t expect much movement into the organization this offseason or next offseason for that matter. Cleveland has basically locked in its roster for the next few seasons, convinced that they can win it all with the talent they currently have. A championship isn’t out of the question, but will it be out of budget?
Your move, LeBron.