The Cleveland Cavaliers are the story of the NBA season so far. After three disappointing seasons without LeBron James, the Ohio-based franchise has had an excellent season up until this point. They are standing at 32-21 and while the injury bug has got them reeling at times, they are still strong. If the Cavs want to make an even bigger splash in the playoffs, they should be active in the trade market. One of the names linked to the Cavs is Dejounte Murray. Since he would be a major upgrade, here are two reasons the Cavs must trade for Spurs’ Dejounte Murray.
He is an upgrade on Collin Sexton
Getting the Spurs to trade Murray for anything less than a package starting with Collin Sexton or Darius Garland is impossible. However, a package with Sexton and someone like Cedi Osman, helped by some picks, would probably work. If this is on the table, the Cavs need to capitalize on this unique opportunity to get one of the best backcourts in the Eastern Conference. Sexton would likely be dealt and while he is out right now, he should still have tons of trade value.
Before the injury, Sexton was averaging 16 points and playing some great basketball, together with Garland. Obviously, he still has to improve, and playing in the Spurs system would benefit him a lot. On the other hand, Murray is 25 and might not be part of Spurs’ long-term plans, especially considering they are putting a lot of eggs in the Josh Primo basket. Thus, getting a few picks and two young guns for the guard would be a great package for Gregg Popovich, RC Buford, and the Spurs organization.
When it comes to Murray, he would upgrade the Cavs in many segments Sexton could not, regardless of his great play until the injury. Firstly, Murray is having his career year, averaging 19.6 points, 9.2 assists, 8.4 rebounds, and league-high 2.1 steals. His shooting splits are also fairly efficient, as they are 45.4/31.6/74. Murray is also a lockdown defender, something the Cavs need playing next to Garland. He has routinely shown that he can run the show, while also putting the responsibility on himself to guard the best guard on the opposing side.
With some great guards on opposing rosters, having a lockdown defender like Murray would be amazing for the Cavs. There are some things that need to be considered, however, as the Spurs might not be looking to trade Murray unless there is a world-breaking package sent their way. Still, the Cavs should at least inquire about him.
The rest of the trade field is fairly thin
As said in the beginning, the Cavs are enjoying a great season. Still, they are most likely losing in any playoff series against the favorites such as the Nets or the Bucks, despite the Nets’ struggles and Bucks’ slower regular season. Their two major injuries, to Sexton and to Ricky Rubio, have not hit them as much as everyone expected, but with more responsibility on the rest of the roster, they might enter the playoffs fairly tired. The Cavs, thus, need to find reinforcements in the trade market.
If Murray is excluded, the trade market is very bare at the moment. Of course, Ben Simmons and, recently, James Harden are there, but they are unrealistic to get for the Cavs without giving up major pieces of this run. The Pacers trio of Myles Turner, Caris LeVert, and Domantas Sabonis are also there, but they would likely cost more than they would improve the squad. Jusuf Nurkic from the Portland Trail Blazers is also available, but the only need on this Cavs roster is a playmaking guard.
With all that in mind, there are a few options to consider, yet none are near the level of Murray. Dennis Schroder is an option, but he is definitely not the playmaking guard. Also from the Celtics, Marcus Smart could be an option and while he would cover the defensive work the Cavs need from their guards, he does not distribute enough to match what the Cavs lost with Ricky Rubio falling down.
Thus, by simple elimination, the Cavs should really pick up the phone and contact the Spurs right away. Murray is an incredible talent and his presumed prime will be on par with the rest of the Cavs roster. He is also a well-rounded player that brings a lot of defense, facilitation, distribution, playmaking, and a lot of stability. It is a no-brainer and the Cavs should be all-in for Dejounte Murray.