The LeBron-less Cleveland Cavaliers are now in that awkward place between contending and rebuilding, which forces them to fill out their roster with bargain bin veterans and a few young players for good measure. They’ll fight for a playoff spot, but without any lofty ambition, Cleveland needs to go as young as possible. The team owes that much to itself, as fresh starts aren’t given so much as made. If the Cavs really want to start over, they have to put themselves in a position to do so.
They’ve taken the slightest step in the opposite direction this morning. According to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports, the Cavs have signed Joey Graham to a two-year deal.
Signing Joey Graham is not damning. In fact, it won’t hurt the Cavs at all; Graham is a perfectly serviceable combo forward (more 4 than 3, really), and should give them some decent depth. However, at 27, Graham is what he is. He’s not getting any better, he won’t be around for the long haul, and frankly, it seems like he’d be a more intriguing piece for a veteran team.
The Cavs already have a few young frontcourt players, but this intermediate period should be about finding players and strategies that work for the future. Graham doesn’t. Even though he’s a fairly decent player, he’ll be out of Cleveland in two years, and he won’t make much more of a dent there than he did at his last few stops. He’s usable but unimpressive, and right now, the Cavs need something else. Even a guard they could send to the D-League would have more long-term impact.
Enjoy Joey, Cleveland. He’s a reasonably effective player. Yet given where this team is right now, I’m not sure he’s the right one.