People in Cleveland have turned their attention to Kevin Love as their next target to pair with James. The Timberwolves, however, have been steadfast in their demand for Andrew Wiggins in any possible trade for Love.
Unfortunately for Cleveland, their biggest issue as they currently stand figures to be on defense – even with Wiggins: The Cavaliers ranked 17th in the NBA allowing 104.8 points per 100 possessions (also known as Defensive Rating). Love had a mediocre individual Defensive Rating with Minnesota at 104. Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters both registered amongst the worst in the league at 108 and 110, respectively. Even with LeBron, a Love-Irving feature team would struggle defensively.
Between an Irving-Waiters-James-Love-Thompson starting five, the average Defensive Rating is 107. That would rank them amongst the league’s worst teams (sandwiched between the Knicks and Pelicans.)
Chris Bosh, meanwhile, is one of the more adept defensive big men in the league with enough versatility to play center on a Cavaliers’ small-ball attack. Best of all, Miami’s lack of leverage on the soon-to-bolt Bosh means he’s more obtainable than Love. Bosh is not only a more natural fit but he’s also a more affordable option.
As it stands now, Pat Riley sees the inevitable situation of losing Bosh to Houston for (at most) Terrence Jones and parts in a sign-and-trade. But if Cleveland and James give Bosh a convincing pitch immediately following the James announcement, the Rockets might be forced to match Chandler Parsons’ $46 million offer sheet from Dallas before Bosh chooses a destination. This would essentially force Houston out of the Bosh sweepstakes.
Wouldn’t Riley prefer to negotiate on a package comprised of Anderson Varejao, Dion Waiters and either Anthony Bennett or Tristan Thompson in a sign-and-trade with Cleveland? Bosh, in this case, would get his max contract while continuing to play next to James on a championship favorite.
Cleveland would open approximately 19.3 million in the deal to offer Bosh in the first year of his salary. Bosh is waiting on James to decide. As is the case, Cleveland would have a short window to pitch a Big 4.
With Wiggins preserved from the trade, the James-Bosh-Wiggins combo would be strong enough defensively to make up for Kyrie Irving’s shortcomings.
Either of those starting fives, along with whoever was signed in free agency (Ray Allen, perhaps?), could make for the most dangerous rotation in the league.