The Cav’s Biggest Threat Next Season


For the last six seasons, the team that LeBron James has played for has been the favorite to make it to the NBA Finals. The Eastern Conference have had trouble finding a team to compete with one of the ‘big three’ teams LeBron has been a part of. Even the years that his team failed to finish first in the regular season, they still went into the postseason as the favorites to make the Finals. This past season, the Cleveland Cavaliers almost swept their way to the NBA Finals, losing only two games in the Eastern Conference playoffs. After the NBA Draft and the majority of players off the free agency market, has any team improved enough to challenge the Cavs?  Let’s check out a few teams that could potentially be the Cav’s biggest threat next season.

Many teams in the Eastern Conference made significant moves to try and improve their rosters. The Boston Celtics signed Al Horford. The Atlanta Hawks signed Dwight Howard. The Indiana Pacers made a lot of noise by acquiring Jeff Teague, Thaddeus Young, and Al Jefferson. However, there are two teams that I believe have emerged as the Cavs biggest threat, the Chicago Bulls and the New York Knicks.

The Chicago Bulls started the off-season by trading away former MVP Derrick Rose to the New York Knicks. Jimmy Butler’s name also started floating around as being rumored to being traded. The Bulls seemed like they were headed to rebuilding mode. Then a few days into free agency, the Bulls signed Rajon Rondo. A few days later the second biggest surprise of the free agency happened when Dwyane Wade chose to leave Miami and sign with his hometown team.  This makes the Bulls very athletic on the wings. In the Derrick Rose trade, they received Robin Lopez, adding him to a front court that features Taj Gibson, Nikola Mirotic and up and coming youngsters Doug McDermott and Bobby Portis.  The Bulls will be a versatile team that will be able to throw out a variety of lineups. The Cavs would still be favored in a series against the Bulls, but they would at least be able to make it interesting.

The New York Knicks have emerged as possibly having the most interesting team in the NBA. As mentioned above, they started the off-season by acquiring Derrick Rose from the Bulls. During free agency they were able to sign Joakim Noah, Courtney Lee, and Brandon Jennings. Those four players will be teamed up with Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis. The Knicks will have a team loaded with talent. The big question mark for the Knicks will be if they can stay healthy or not. Rose, Noah, and Anthony have all had their history with injuries. If they are to compete for an NBA title, the key factor will be their health. If the playoffs role around and the Knicks are a healthy team, watch for them to be the Cavs top contenders.

The Eastern Conference as a whole has become much stronger. It will take a great series by any team in order to prevent Cleveland from reaching their third consecutive NBA Finals. If the Bulls or the Knicks are able to stay healthy, watch for a great battle in the Eastern Conference. But still expect Cleveland to emerge from the East again, but the road to the Finals will be much more difficult than the previous two.

About Aaron Davis

Aaron is a staff writer and the Co-Founder of NBALEAD. He has been following the NBA for over 15 years. Graduated from Purdue University.

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