The Cavaliers will finish with the 13th-best record of the 15 teams in the Eastern Conference and don’t have much cap space for a team that is undergoing a rebuild, The Athletic’s John Hollinger wrote in his season preview.
Cleveland is just $3 million below the luxury tax threshold, partially because of power forward Kevin Love‘s large contract, Hollinger noted. The Cavs have been unsuccessful in attempts to trade Love, who is due around $60 million over the next two seasons.
Love and his agent have both said Love is not open to a contract buyout. For now, it seems, the Cavs are planning to use Love in a reserve role.
“The Cavs are hoping Kevin Love can thrive playing 20 to 25 minutes off the bench with veteran point guard Ricky Rubio,” wrote Terry Pluto of Cleveland.com. “They have looked good at times in the preseason. They played together in Minnesota from 2011-16. Rubio has the skills and knowledge to be the excellent backup point guard the team needs.”
The Cavs are coming off a 22-50 season in which they placed 13th in the East. They ranked 25th in defense and 28th in offense, and returning largely the same core — with rookie forward/center Evan Mobley, forward Lauri Markkanen and Rubio being notable newcomers.