While the Cavs would be in much better shape if Griffin were coming back for next season, the former Cleveland GM isn’t faultless in the team’s current situation.
Signing J.R. Smith to a four-year, $57 million deal last summer gave the Cavs little wiggle room in free agency when coupled with Tristan Thompson’s five-year, $82 million contract. Both players underwhelmed in the Finals, and there’s not much reason to expect they’ll outperform expectations moving forward.
Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love are All-Stars in their own right, sure, but they aren’t equal to the likes of Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant. And while LeBron can elevate their games to a championship-winning level, he no longer has the ability to lift others at the same time he’s playing his very best.
Trading Love for Paul George would help a little bit — not enough to make the Cavs favorites over the Warriors, though.
Now, you might argue that LeBron doesn’t have to stay in Cleveland. He could form a superteam of his own and win a fourth title.
Maybe, but here’s the thing …
LeBron has to pick and choose his spots a little more often entering his 15th NBA season. His age and all of the minutes played are catching up to him, whether we like it or not.
That’s not enough against a superteam like the Warriors. To beat Golden State, you have to be absolutely elite for all 48 minutes.