Armstrong: Cavs going for it with the East up for grabs

Jack Armstrong
8/7/2014 12:28:35 PM
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From the standpoint of having LeBron James and Kyrie Irving already in Cleveland, the Cavaliers are looking at accelerating their chances of winning a championship.

Look at the Eastern Conference landscape right now.

Paul George is sidelined for the long term with the Indiana Pacers.

Even with Pau Gasol in the mix, there are still some questions surrounding a healthy Derrick Rose in Chicago.

And of course, LeBron left Miami. 

Now I'm sure LeBron made it very clear to Cavs owner Dan Gilbert what his specific intentions were in coming back to Cleveland. And I think we can all agree that his supporting cast in previous Cavs campaigns were relatively inferior. But despite that knock, LeBron did a remarkable job on the court.

But now when you're bringing him back at age 30 - right in the prime of his career - why wouldn't you go for it?

At the end of the day, there's no guarantees. You look at a guy like LeBron signing a short-term deal in Cleveland and that's obviously cap-related. But this is a team that basically said, 'just go for it.' There's an opportunity for the Cavs - in the Eastern Conference right now - to get back into the NBA Finals.

From Cleveland's perspective, it makes sense as long as that firm agreement over a long-term deal with Kevin Love holds up. And that appears to be the case - otherwise, the Cavs wouldn't swing this deal.

Now this doesn't make the Cavaliers the best team in the NBA, but it does put them slightly ahead of Chicago right now (once again, Derrick Rose is the x-factor there). And there will be a learning curve with the Cavs. They have a new head coach in David Blatt who had lengthy coaching stints overseas, so there's going to be some adjustments. This deal will make them the team to beat in the conference, but the better teams are still out West.

For Minnesota, they're getting two really talented kids. Anthony Bennett is in much better shape now - he had an excellent summer league experience and I think he's really going to blossom in Minnesota.

And Wiggins will be a much bigger piece of the puzzle in Minnesota than he would have been with LeBron James in Cleveland.

And Minnesota is a good environment for young players to play in. Flip Saunders is a good coach and has great support in former Raptors coach and TSN basketball analyst Sam Mitchell. They will bring plenty of accountability and discipline.

I don't know how well they'll do in a difficult Western Conference, but I do believe it's a win-win for both sides.

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