This Week’s Open Tryouts Put the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Limitations on Display

Los Angeles Lakers v Cleveland Cavaliers
David Liam Kyle-Getty Images

Get pumped, Cleveland Cavaliers fans. LeBron James asked the front office to find him another playmaker and, by golly, it might have done just that.

Based on the latest reports, the Cavs’ apparent solution to their depth woes is none other than…Jordan Farmar?

Yes, ESPN reported yesterday the former Los Angeles Laker put forth the best performance during Cleveland’s recent open tryouts. Apparently Farmar’s showing earned him an assurance from the team that, should it sign anyone, he’d be at the top of the list. Sure, how he played helped his cause, but his willingness to accept a ten-day contract certainly played a part as well.

So how about it, Cavs fans? Will Farmar’s addition turn this Big Three into a Big Four, rivaling the roster the Golden State Warriors assembled?

No. God no. It took me longer than it should to stomach typing that, even as a joke.

Sure, James may find it a bit laughable if the front office responds to his demands for more help with someone who’s played a combined 14 games across the past two seasons. Who hasn’t had anything close to a full-season’s worth of activity since 2010.

However, the hope is both James and Cleveland fans finally realize the situation the team is in right now. If anything, what went down at this week’s tryouts should do more than enough to highlight the limitations the Cavs are dealing with when it comes to finding more help.

Depending on who you ask, Farmar went up against a good amount of competition during these sessions. Vets like Lance Stephenson, Mario Chalmers and Kirk Hinrich also made the trip to Cleveland to try and make the team. These four have each had solid seasons…at some point in their careers.

On the surface, hearing Farmar out-performed these three doesn’t exactly make him sound like a can’t-miss signing. More than a few are mocking the Cavs for seeing him or any of the aforementioned players as something even remotely resembling a “solution.”

To those who are underwhelmed by all of this, I only ask a simple question – what did you expect?

What was this dream mid-season free agent signing you had in mind? What miracle trade were you holding out hope for? Who came to mind when you heard James claim the team needed another playmaker?

I highly doubt it was Farmar, but what else can a team in Cleveland’s position do here?

The Cavs have an open roster spot, sure. However, it only opened up after the team traded for Kyle Korver. We’re in the middle of the season, so if a free agent is available to sign at this point, it certainly doesn’t imply he’s a top-tier talent.

To those who argue Cleveland should turn its focus away from off-the-street tryouts and instead fix roster issues via the trade market, I’ll ask again – what do you expect?

It’s already been said enough this Carmelo Anthony-for-Kevin Love pipe dream the New York Knicks keep trying to push is an awful deal. At the same time, it highlights the fact the Cavs won’t be able to make a blockbuster move without parting with one of their core players.

The team doesn’t have a first round draft pick to give away for the rest of the decade. No club in its right mind is going to part with valuable assets to get DeAndre Liggins or Jordan McRae. Some suggest Cleveland dangle Iman Shumpert in potential deals, but his resurgence as a starter would make this a risky move.

So, for those with pie-in-the-sky hopes that GM David Griffin is going to find an elite free agent or swing a monster trade, what went down this week should bring you back down to earth. While the Cavs sure could use some help, right now the only logical solution is bargain-bin shopping.

Casey Drottar is an independent sports writer. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook


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