The Cleveland Cavaliers are in the midst of a historic run of success, but some analysts aren’t convinced the team can keep it up at some point. While some think the Cavs can’t sustain their dominance, others believe they are too good to be true. One way the Cavs can improve is by signing Lauri Markkanen, who may be available in the off-season.
The Brooklyn Nets have a problem. They have a lot of problems, but don’t let it distract you from the issue at hand. In a few days, the Nets will send their top-seven players to Cleveland to take on the Cavs. In case you haven’t been paying attention to the teams, they’re not exactly a powerhouse. In fact, the only reason the Cavs are in the playoffs is because of a championship from a few seasons back. While Cleveland has a lot of talent, they’ve been inconsistent all season, and the Nets have a chance to take advantage of it.
It’s fairly unusual for one company’s loss to become another’s gain. However, the Cleveland Cavaliers’ $67 million investment in former Chicago Bulls enigma Lauri Markkanen may have an effect on the Brooklyn Nets’ championship chances.
The Nets are continuously on the lookout for new additions for this season. A free agent from Cleveland may fill a roster space in Brooklyn, or if the Nets want to make a bigger splash, a former All-Star might profit from the Blake Griffin Rehabilitation Challenge (patent pending). The Cavaliers’ signing of Markkanen opens the possibility for potential trades with less than a month before training camp.
Lauri Markkanen is a clumsy fit for the Cleveland Cavaliers, to be sure.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are in the fourth year of their post-LeBron James era, and things aren’t going well. In 2018 and 2019, they chose point guards with consecutive lottery selections, and they’re still figuring out how and whether Darius Garland and Collin Sexton will work together.
Cleveland selected USC stretch big Evan Mobley with the third overall selection in late July. Then they made a $67 million commitment to bring in Markkanen. He’s a stretch large (wait for it). Kevin Love, who is a (drum roll, please) stretch big, is still on the roster. Is it clear to general manager Koby Altman that this isn’t a fantasy basketball team?
Markkanen was acquired from the Bulls in a sign-and-trade transaction. Not only are they paying him almost $17 million per season for the next four seasons when there was virtually no market for him, but they also gave up a lottery choice and versatile combo forward Larry Nance Jr. in the process.
Because you have to take advantage of the opportunity to compensate a scorer whose scoring average has gradually declined over the past two seasons (checks notes) and who has missed an average of 20 games each season.
Sean Marks, the general manager of the Brooklyn Nets, may benefit from Altman’s blunder. Not to suggest that Marks is playing 3-D chess while Altman is playing with human excrement, but it’s a possibility.
The Brooklyn Nets have a number of alternatives for adding depth to their frontcourt.
Images of Giannis Antetokounmpo overpowering defenders who were either too small or too weak to stop him were a recurrent motif in the Brooklyn Nets’ playoffs last season. Griffin was the starting center for the Nets throughout their playoff run. DeAndre Jordan, who had proven himself to be useless at this stage in his career, got a great courtside seat for both series.
However, there may be a significant increase in size on the way. The Cleveland Cavaliers’ Isaiah Hartenstein, a 7-foot center who emerged as a rotation component late last season, is an unrestricted free agency. There’s not much money left for Hartenstein after Altman paid $100 million to keep Jarrett Allen and drained $67 million for Markkanen (despite still owing $60.2 million for Love’s deal).
Hartenstein may have wished for something more than the $1.7 million player option he turned down. However, the veteran’s minimum of $1.73 million would still be a modest raise and offer a chance to win in Brooklyn. The Nets have long been interested in the young German big man, according to Brian Lewis of the New York Post. However, there is another possibility.
Love may join the Brooklyn Nets if he receives a buyout from the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Lauri Markkanen (R) cost the Cleveland Cavaliers $67 million, which may help the Brooklyn Nets sign another big name like Kevin Love. | Getty Images/Jonathan Daniel
According to Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Cleveland Cavaliers are “making progress” on a buyout of Love’s contract. Love’s team has said that a buyout is not an option.
Love owns a waterfront condo in Tribeca, according to Lewis. He’s also said to be friends with Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets. Love owns a ring from his time with the Cavaliers and may desire another. He’ll be 33 years old shortly, and injuries have devastated his past five seasons, but Brooklyn could acquire him for the veteran’s minimum ($2.64 million for a player with 10 or more years of service) with a buyout.
The Nets would not be receiving a franchise player in Love. It’s not even Love, the third wheel behind LeBron and Kyrie Irving, that’s going to Brooklyn. But he’d have a ring, would be aware that he’d be playing a part, and wouldn’t have to save energy while attempting to lead a poor team.
Love can still shoot and rebound when he isn’t always 30 feet away from the hoop. At worst, he’s a low-cost means of getting another six fouls on Antetokounmpo.
And neither Love nor Hartenstein will pay $67 million to be offensively erratic and defensively non-existent.
Spotrac provided contract details.
RELATED: A Hall of Fame Point Guard Calls Kyrie Irving Out for a Remark He Made Nearly 11 Months Ago: ‘That Should Not Be Said’ is a phrase that should not be used.
This article broadly covered the following related topics:
- cleveland cavaliers
- cleveland cavs
- cleveland sport