NBC Sports’ Dan Feldman is grading every team’s offseason based on where the team stands now relative to its position entering the offseason. A ‘C’ means a team is in similar standing, with notches up or down from there.
The Cavaliers had the good fortune of landing the No. 3 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft.
That was higher than Cleveland was expected to pick entering the lottery. Even better, a special talent like Evan Mobley was available – not the case at No. 3 in every draft. Further, Mobley is a big, which meant the Cavs didn’t further complicate their situation at guard with young building blocks Darius Garland and Collin Sexton (and maybe Isaac Okoro).
Then, the Cavaliers re-signed restricted free agent center Jarrett Allen to a five-year, $100 million contract. They also traded valuable Larry Nance Jr. just to pay power forward Lauri Markkanen $67,470,906 over four years ($55,426,362 guaranteed).
Where does that leave Mobley?
“He has a chance to make like 500 million in this league,” said Ed Davis, a late veteran addition to Cleveland’s roster.
Maybe the Cavs aren’t optimally allocating their resources.
Talent acquisition is important for a rebuilding team. It’s nice to have Mobley (20), Allen (23) and Markkanen (24).
But Allen’s and Markkanen’s deals could really age poorly.
The NBA is oversaturated with solid centers, and that looks like Mobley’s best long-term position. Did the Cavaliers, who held matching rights, really have to rush to pay Allen so much? Especially when he and Mobley might be too redundant.
As an outside shooter, Markkanen fits better. But an inconsistent contributor with the Bulls, he hasn’t proven to be worth nearly such a high salary. Even if Nance (28) didn’t fit Cleveland’s timeline, he should have fetched a greater return.
After a couple quiet years, the Cavaliers certainly were busy this offseason. But they’ll probably miss the playoffs this season, and even the play-in tournament looks unlikely. As much as Mobley adds, there’s unease about the long-term direction of this team.
Offseason grade: C
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