With the NBA trade deadline now in the rearview mirror it is clear that the Cleveland Cavaliers are still on the path to nowhere.
Entering the 2020-21 NBA season the expectations for the Cleveland Cavaliers were not realistically high. In reality is that those expectations should have firmly been on the lower end of the spectrum. The fact of the matter is that this team continues to be stuck in the same cycle of non-competitiveness without a clear way out.
This is not about the Cavaliers decision to deal JaVale McGee to the Nuggets, that was actually a smart move. Cleveland identified an older player that was in demand on the trade market and found a way to facilitate a trade. This is entirely about the complete mismanagement of the Andre Drummond situation. The Cavs are going to end up buying out Drummond after not being able to find a trade, something that seemed impossible from the start.
The issue at hand is that Cleveland refused to give minutes to a player who would have made the team better. After that they let him sit out for a considerable period of time, subsequently torpedoing any trade value Drummond once had. The perception of Drummond as a player combined with his contract gave him little value. Adding only to his low value was the fact no team has seen him in action since February 12th. Teams are not going to sign up to give up anything for a player who has not been in a game in a month and a half.
Now the Cavaliers are going to let one of the more talented players on their roster go wherever he wants while they sit there with nothing to show for it. Teams that are in the business of buying out players are not in the business of winning games. Is the teams who add players who are bought out from non-competitive teams that are on the right end of this transaction.
The faces change from year-to-year, more youthful players find their way onto the roster, and team keeps moving forward on the same path. The problem is that the path is circular and being competitive is not in the cycle. This is a team full of pieces that may not fit together and that has absolutely no depth. The only way it seems this collection of players would work together is with a superstar level talent added to the roster the can carry the team. Problem is that is much easier said than done and extremely difficult to accomplish. Chances are that player does not come and this team is left in mediocrity. Actually, mediocrity would be an improvement as that is a step up from where things currently stand.