What was supposed to be an offseason when the Cleveland Cavaliers retooled for another deep postseason run, the LeBron James-led squad had to go through—and still going through—the drama of contract impasse between power forward Tristan Thompson and the Cavaliers management.

Last season, James and his Cavaliers fell short of two wins in winning the championship as they lost to the Golden State Warriors in six games in the 2015 NBA Finals.

Injuries to point guard Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love was costly for the Cleveland team as they missed games in the postseason. The supposed “Big Three” in Cleveland came down to a James’ solo act in the championship series and he found little help from the rest of the Cavaliers.

One of the few Cavaliers who made a big impact and helped James was Thompson, who started in place of Love and averaged 10.0 points, 13.0 rebounds and 1.0 blocked shots in the finals. Thompson’s performance was perfect as he entered free agency in the 2015 offseason but it appears both sides still cannot agree on the value of the deal for the five-year forward.

James was his usual monster-self producing monster stats in the 20 postseason games. Arguably the best player in the league averaged 30.1 points, 11.3 rebounds, 8.5 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.1 blocked shots per game in the playoffs-- still not enough to beat a Warriors squad that had a lot of offensive weapons.

James returns this year still in his prime but he’s hoping that both Irving (21.7 points and 5.2 assists per game) and Love (16.4 points and 9.7 rebounds per game) will be in full health for the entire year. Other key Cavs include the wing guys J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert for their offensive punch and defensive energy, respectively.

Role players like Australian point guard Matthew Dellavedova and Mo Williams are also expected to contribute, especially if Irving misses some time in the early part of the regular season.

Should the distraction of the Thompson contract impasse continue during the season, the Cavaliers are also hoping centres Timofey Mozgov and the comebacking Anderson Varejao will be able to hold down the paint.

2015-2016 Cleveland Cavaliers Projected Depth Chart:
Point Guards: Kyrie Irving/Mo Williams/Matthew Dellavedova
Shooting Guards: Iman Shumpert/J.R. Smith/Austin Daye/Dionte Christmas
Small Forwards: LeBron James/Richard Jefferson/Cedi Osman
Power Forwards: Kevin Love/Tristan Thompson
Centres: Timofey Mosgov/Anderson Varejao

Other 2015-2016 NBA Season Team Previews:
Atlanta Hawks return with same core, poised for another postseason run
Golden State Warriors raring to prove title run was not a fluke
Memphis Grizzlies to continue ‘Grit N’ Grind’ style in new season

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