For all the successes of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 2021 season, they still have a few holes to fill.
Not major ones, but holes nonetheless.
A backup point guard is one such hole.
And while it would be honestly incredible for the Cavs to a) sign franchise hero-turned-villain Kyrie Iriving and then b) make him come off the bench, that’s not happening.
It would be Shakespearean, but entirely unrealistic.
But there are a few players who the Cavs might be looking at as a sort of homecoming to fill their needs.
Here are two free agent possibilities:
1. Ricky Rubio
Last offseason, the Cavs faced a similar decision, looking long and hard for a seasoned playmaker who could gel with the Cavs’ young core.
Perhaps Alex Caruso?
Instead, the Cavs opted for Ricky Rubio.
And while Caruso had a terrific season with the Bulls and McConnell still holds cult status in Philadelphia, Rubio proved himself to be the right choice.
Unfortunately, the Spanish point guard tore his ACL back in December.
In need of a quality roster spot, the Cavs dealt Rubio to the Pacers in a deal that brought Caris LeVert to Euclid Ave.
Rubio is set to hit free agency this summer.
But while he was still with the Cavs, Rubio had a tremendous impact on the team.
“Ricky was the first person to get to me about leadership this year, and that really turned a page. Ricky was on me all the time about being aggressive, keeping everybody engaged and having that killer mindset. This is your team, this is all you.”
That advice and mentorship doesn’t exactly grow on trees.
Rubio also apparently wants to be back in Cleveland, with Chris Fedor of cleveland.com saying the chances of a reunion are “highly likely.”
Ricky Rubio has told his reps that Cleveland is his perferred destination in 2022 NBA free agency, per sources.
Teams and players can start negotiations on August 6th at 6 PM.
— Tim Larson (@TimLarsonSports) April 23, 2022
Rubio’s efficiency and clutch shooting aren’t great, sure.
For all of his intangibles, Cleveland getting Rubio back in the building would be a major boon.
2. Collin Sexton
Collin Sexton is set to enter restricted free agency after he and the Cavs failed to agree on a contract extension this summer.
That means that the Cavs have the chance to match whatever offer sheet Sexton signs from another team.
And unless they feel confident they can secure the services of a Jalen Brunson, the Cavs should match whatever offer comes Sexton’s way.
Well, maybe not any offer.
But they should do what they can to keep Sexton in The Land.
— MoreForYouCleveland (@MoreForYou_CLE) April 29, 2022
He’s a dangerous scorer who can go for 20-plus any night.
Sexton would take the scoring pressure off Garland or Mobley instantly, offering another offensive dimension to the team’s game.
He may not be the flashiest signing, but his roughly 25 points per contest would go a long way towards finishing out the end of games.
Last season, the team finished with a league-worst 103.8 points per game.
This season, without Sexton, the team improved slightly at 107.7.
Adding Sexton’s offense could be the key to another offensive leap forward next season.
Questions about whether Garland and Sexton are a long-term fit remain.
But that’s something that the front office can figure out for the seasons to come.
For now, they need to workout how they will compete with the best teams in the East.
When things are clicking, they have the defense to match with anyone.
It’s just a matter of whether the offense can also keep pace.
Is Collin Sexton the answer?
Only one way to find out.