Cleveland Cavaliers Season Preview: LeBron James, Kevin Love, JR Smith Return, Kyrie Irving Injured, Tristan Thompson Signs Before Camp?

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Sep 26, 2015 11:16 AM EDT
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LeBron James #23, Iman Shumpert #4 and Kyrie Irving #2 of the Cleveland Cavaliers
LeBron James #23, Iman Shumpert #4 and Kyrie Irving #2 of the Cleveland Cavaliers celebrate during the game against the Chicago Bulls on April 5, 2015 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio."

The Cleveland Cavaliers are coming into the 2015-16 season looking to get back to the NBA finals again and the team is going to be one of the favorites to make it out of the eastern conference. The team signed back LeBron James, Kevin Love, JR Smith, Iman Shumpert and Matthew Dellavedova this offseason and Kyrie Irving will return at some point after knee surgery.

The Cavs lost to the Golden State Warriors in the NBA finals last season, but the team was playing shorthanded with Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving both getting injured. James helped lead the team to the playoffs for the first time since he left Cleveland and he comes back looking to finish the job. James signed a new deal this summer and Love came back on a max contract to lock in the most important free agents for the Cavs.

Training camp for the team starts next week and the biggest issue for the Cavs remaining before the season is signing Tristan Thompson. Thompson is reportedly looking for a multi-year contract and the Akron Beacon Journal reports that he is willing to sign a three-year, $53 million contract. The Cavs reportedly are not interested in extending that deal and as things stand now, the qualifying offer for a one-year deal could be the solution.

The Cavaliers made some key offseason moves this year, including signing free agents Mo Williams, Richard Jefferson and Austin Daye. The team also signed Sasha Kaun, who the team previously drafted years ago and now they have signed him to a deal. Williams turned out to be a great move, as Kyrie Irving is likely not going to be ready to start the season and he can step in to start.

Last season Love was injured in Game 4 against the Boston Celtics in the first round, while Irving went down early in the finals. The Cavs did not have much of a chance against the Warriors without those players, but they put up a good fight and this year they could be deeper off the bench. The starting lineup should have (when everyone is healthy) LeBron, Irving, Iman Shumpert, Kevin Love and Timofey Mozgov for David Blatt.

The Cavaliers bench will be very deep this year after the additions of Williams, Jefferson and Kaun, as the team already has Joe Harris, Anderson Varejao, James Jones and Matthew Dellavedova. The team spent a ton of money this summer and they should be better overall than last season. Cleveland started off slow last year and made trades for Mozgov, Smith and Shumpert that turned out to be integral to the season. David Griffin has trade exceptions and as the season goes on, the team could consider trades again.

Prediction: Cavaliers make it back to the finals out of the Eastern conference.

Check here for more on Thompson and the Cavaliers.

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