The Cleveland Cavaliers entered the 2023 NBA offseason with one pressing need to fill on their roster — the small forward position. It was clear, especially during the Cavs’ five-game playoff series defeat at the hands of the New York Knicks, that Isaac Okoro was not the answer at the position and Caris LeVert, as solid of a player as he is, may not be the kind of player the Cavs need at the three given his skillset overlap with the likes of Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland.

To that end, the Cavs reportedly were in pursuit of Kyle Kuzma, the versatile scoring forward with the Washington Wizards, to add even more size to an already-huge frontcourt. In the end, the Cavs turned to one of the Miami Heat’s unsung heroes during their run to the 2023 NBA Finals. They signed Max Strus to a huge, four-year, $64 million deal, having high hopes in his ability to contribute in a playoff setting.

The Cavs also signed Georges Niang to add some much-needed shooting, although Niang, due to his less-than-ideal footspeed, should play more at the four.

All in all, the Cavs made some moves that should help their bid to improve upon last year’s first-round exit. But in terms of asset management and allocation of funds, there may be a move that could be a source of worry for the team in the near-future.

Here is one big mistake the Cavs made this offseason, although it’s certainly worth mentioning that this mistake shouldn’t be especially detrimental to the team unless things head south in an unforeseen manner.

Cavs’ biggest mistake during 2023 NBA free agency: Offering that big of a contract to Max Strus

There’s no mistaking that Max Strus could help the Cavs’ efforts next season. The Cavs ranked in the bottom-10 of the NBA in three-point shooting efficiency last season, and Strus should be a huge help in boosting those numbers up. The former Heat sharpshooter should also give the team a new dimension on offense. Strus thrives off of movement, and due to his upbringing in the Heat culture, his conditioning allows him to log heavy minutes and not suffer too much of a drop-off in the shooting department.

“Max creates a dynamic offense for you. A lot of flow, a lot of movements, a lot of gravitational pull where he doesn’t even have to touch the ball,” Cavs general manager Koby Altman said, per Terry Pluto of “Just watch his (Strus) movement in Miami and tell us that’s not going to help us immensely

All in all, Strus is a solid volume catch-and-shoot marksman from deep. He shot 36.1 percent on six attempts per game last year from three, even as he found himself playing a myriad of roles for the Heat during the regular season last year. From the corners, he’s an even deadlier marksman.

However, for an average of $16 million for the next four years, let’s not pretend that this free agent contract doesn’t have any downsides. For starters, Strus isn’t the most elite shooter from deep, although at the volume he takes, 36 percent is solid enough, making sure that he’s someone defenses have to remain glued to.

But it’s his defense that will dictate whether the Cavs have a bargain on their hands with Strus, or whether the contract they signed him to proves to be too big of a deal for a shooting specialist.

Strus is not a lockdown defender on the perimeter, although his effort on that end of the floor is certainly helpful to any team. He fights over screens and he tries his best on every possession to keep his man in front of him. But at 6’5 with a 6’7.5 wingspan, Strus does not have elite physical tools to act as a strong defender at the point of attack. He’s also not the quickest laterally, and he’s not much of a presence in the passing lanes either.

On every given night, Max Strus must be on point from three, lest he finds himself lost in the shuffle in the Cavs’ slightly crowded picture at that position. Given how there tends to be variance with shooting numbers, there’s no guarantee that Strus remains consistent enough to warrant that kind of money, especially when he doesn’t have the longest track record of success. Duncan Robinson looms as a cautionary tale of a Heat sniper who hasn’t been nearly consistent enough to be worth his new deal, his solid play during the 2023 playoffs notwithstanding.

The Cavs are betting on Strus’ work ethic allowing him to continue adding to his game, and, perhaps, helping them address their deficiencies at the three. But the Cavs are clearly leaning towards the side of offense at the cost of defense, as they may now have three perimeter players opposing teams can target on every possession with Strus in town.

Make no mistake about it, Strus is a solid addition. This is not a franchise-altering mistake by any means. But under the new CBA where every penny matters, perhaps the Cavs could have added Strus without committing this much money.