Assuming Lebron is gone, what direction do they take?
First, a little perspective. The Cavs have had the good fortune, since 2011, of winning the lottery twice. They have had 5 picks at #4 or above and 2 #1's in that timeframe. Who have they drafted?
Who did they pass up?
2011: Kawhi, Jimmy Butler, Klay Thompson
2012: Lillard, Draymond Green
2013: Olidipo, Otto Porter, the Greek Freak, Steve Adams, Gobert, CJ McCollum
2014: Embiid, Aaron Gordon, Randle
OK, so no one FO is gonna get it "right" all the time, but do you see the pattern here? The Cavs, after LBJ left for Miami, had an embarrassment of draft pick riches based upon tanking and then amazingly good luck.
LBJ comes back, this should have been a super team for the rest of his career, with just average FO draft picking and FA acquisitions.
So what's next? Here would be my plan:
1. Fire Lue. The Cavs were not going to beat GSW no matter, but it's pretty evident that Lue is a pedestrian coach. Go find the next Brad Stevens.
2. Clean house for picks, at the right time. Love and Thompson have some trade value (altho the salaries would be tough to handle) and could be moved near the 2019 trade deadline. Hill, JR Smith, Hood, Korver, Green might fetch some picks if salary can be dumped.
3. Find a competent and strong GM. When your first move as a GM (Altman) is to answer the phone when Ainge calls, you're screwed. This move is key, as they need to find a strong GM who the owner respects.
4. Convince Gilbert to back off. Tough to do, but Gilbert is their Jimmie Buss but worse- big ego, activist owner with time on his hands. At least Gilbert actually made his own money. I'd make a run at the Utah GM (Lindsey), he's done an incredible job.
5. Let the young guys play. There's not a ton of talent there (Clarkson, Nance, Osman, Zizic) but I would find out what they can do.