This time last year the Cleveland Cavaliers were battling for playoff positioning. The King had his eyes set upon an astonishing 8th appearance to the NBA Finals (which he achieved). Fast forward a year and the Cavs find themselves in a whole different race. With Lebron’s departure to Los Angeles this past summer, the Cavaliers now have their vision set upon life after the King (once again).
The last time Lebron decided to leave Cleveland, the Cavaliers struggled mightily to an abysmal 19-63 record. The 2018/2019 hasn’t been much different for the team and its fans. The only difference this time is Lebron won’t be around again to save the franchise for a second time. So the question is, what will Cleveland have to do to bring success back to a franchise that won a title three years ago? It all begins with acing this upcoming offseason.
The first thing on the “to do list” is to find a leader for the team. Getting the right guy in the head coaching seat will be very important for the franchise and its players.
So let’s begin:
At this point in the season, there are many speculations to who will lead the Cavs next season. Here are a few of my thoughts on who I think might be in the race for the head coaching position.
Now many reports have come out midway through the season that the Cavs will want to start fresh. However, I think it’s worthwhile to look at Larry as a possible candidate for a longer stay as the head coach of The Land. It was a rough season in Cleveland with all the roster moves and injuries. As a team, the Cavs were playing with a lot of young players getting their first opportunity to play as starters in the NBA.
Larry’s one All-Star was injured all year and was left with aged mentors that couldn’t stay healthy or had off-court troubles that kept them out of the facilities. Now that we see a healthier Cavs team nearing the end of the season we have seen a more productive unit on the court.
Since Kevin Love’s return to the court in February the Cavs have gone 7-8 and have been a much more competitive team. With a pending top five pick and hopefully some more roster moves to clear up cap space maybe Larry Drew should get an opportunity to argue his case for a longterm role with the organization.
Stephen Silas is currently the assistant coach for the Dallas Mavericks. He’s been either coaching or scouting on an NBA franchise since 1999 with a brief stint as an assistant coach for the Cavaliers from 2003-2005. During his time as an assistant coach for the Hornets Silas took over the HC reigns for an ill Steve Clifford going 9-11 as the interim.
This wouldn’t be the first time Silas would be in head coaching consideration either. In 2016 when the Houston Rockets were looking for their new HC Silas was in a one on one race with now coach Mike D’Antoni. The job would be given to D’Antoni after a tough fought race against Silas. If the Cavs want a guy with plenty of NBA experience and someone who would want to take the next step they should look no further then Stephen Silas.
This one is fun for me. Juwan Howard is currently the assistant coach for the Miami Heat. The Heat are a team that has found success without a super talented roster. Lots of this success comes from Miami HC Erik Spoelstra.
The Heat have made the playoffs twice since LeBron’s departure and are on the brink of making it a third. If Juwan can create a culture like this where he holds his players and staff accountable it would be a great fit for him in Cleveland. This also fits in nicely with reports of Cleveland wanting a Coach with no head coaching experience in the NBA.
This is my favourite candidate for the head coaching job in Cleveland. Shaka Smart has coached VCU and Texas as the head coach and has an overall record of 224-115. He did just sign an extension with Texas but let’s hope an offer from the Cavs would be too good to pass on. Smart’s coaching style fits for a young group of players. Very high energy and relatability allow him to get the best from his players. Cleveland’s movement is towards a younger rebuild since it has acquired more picks and younger talent through trades.
Personally, I would love to see Shaka on the sideline getting into his defensive stance and pumping up the soon to be young talent on Cleveland’s roster. This might be a reach but the idea of it gets me excited.
Just the start
This is only the first step in a very busy offseason for the Cavs. My next article will include my thoughts on the upcoming draft and Cleveland’s best options. With a deep and talented draft class, it will be important for Cleveland to get the best talent from its two first-round picks. Stay tuned for more Cleveland Cavaliers content.
Main image credit: