The Cleveland Cavaliers started the season in an unexpectedly great way. Many analysts expected the Cavs to be in the bottom of the Eastern Conference, but they are currently 9-8 and they have the Rookie of the Year frontrunner in Evan Mobley. However, a huge setback hit them in the midst of this good start. Their young star guard, Collin Sexton, fell down with a torn meniscus and he is out for the season. While this is a huge setback, obviously, the Cavaliers have the assets to pursue a trade and try to find a solution for this season in the trade market. Thus, here are three guards the Cavs must target to replace Sexton!
Cavs trade targets after Collin Sexton injury
Terrence Ross, Orlando Magic
The first choice might be the Magic wing, Terrence Ross. In the current Cavaliers setup, it is Darius Garland who is the primary facilitator, along with Ricky Rubio. Thus, Sexton did not do a lot in terms of getting his teammates involved. With this in mind, bringing in a guard who will be a scoring option would be preferable. Ross is having a down year this season but that should not be the concern of the Cavaliers at this point.
With the Cavaliers standing at 22nd in offensive rating and 24th in three-point percentage in the NBA, bringing in a shooter would be great for the squad. Out of the entire roster, only Garland and Cedi Osman shoot an average or above-average percentage on a larger number of attempts. For Garland, it is 38% on 7.2 attempts, and for Osman, it is 41.4% on 5.8 attempts. Ross, on the other hand, is a proven shooter who, once again, is having a down year in terms of numbers, but a change of scenery and a place where he can have more to do in the offense might be the facilitation he needs.
Also, he is not too expensive. At around $24 million over the next two years, Ross’ contract is both short and not too expensive, so it would not be hindering any future plans for the Cavaliers to bring him in. All the signs point to a Ross trade, especially when considered that the Magic will definitely not be in the fight for the postseason. Cashing in on Ross right now will yield more rewards in terms of pure assets than if he is traded next season, with one year left on his deal, or if he walks for free. It is a no-brainer for the Cavs to pursue Ross.
Buddy Hield, Sacramento Kings
The Kings really drafted themselves into a bit of a corner, and the Cavaliers might pull the trigger on a trade that will help both sides. Right now, the Kings squad has Tyrese Haliburton, De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, and Davion Mitchell. They are all, or will be with some experience, starting-caliber guards and a trade for one of them will be inevitable if the Kings want some value. The Cavaliers need to seize the opportunity and get one of these guards for pennies on a dollar.
Hield is an excellent offensive guard with major questions on the defensive end. However, with all the facts mentioned above, the Cavaliers do not need to think about that dimension right now. Hield would perfectly slot in and he would have the opportunity to become the first option on the offensive end for these Cavaliers. More importantly, with all the youth on the roster, he will be able to put himself in a position to lead them in a few years, something coveted by any NBA player in the league.
In terms of cost, Hield would be more costly than the previous option. The Kings, in the past, did not show they are a stable and predictable franchise. Thus, dealing with them might be an issue in terms of what to offer and how to extract the most value. However, with Garland, Allen, and Mobley off the table, there is still a realistic possibility for a nice package of assets to be sent to California for Hield. Whatever is sent, outside of the three mentioned above, would be of great value regardless. Hield does not cost much and is practically a no-risk investment by the Cavaliers.
Jeremy Lamb, Indiana Pacers
In terms of pure scoring and doing not much else, Jeremy Lamb is the way to go. While both Hield and Ross are somewhat longer-term solutions, as both have contracts for the next two seasons, Lamb would simply be a bandaid on this wound in the guard’s section of the roster. With the Pacers out of any playoff contention going forward, getting any asset for the expiring contract of Jeremy Lamb would be great for them. The Cavaliers will also get a solid scoring option to pair up with Garland in the backcourt for the time being, while Sexton is recovering.
Lamb does not do much else, but what he does is score. With Sexton bringing 16 points per contest, the Cavs need something to replace that and Lamb is going to do just that. He might average just 8.2 points this season, but that needs to be put into proper context. It is for a poor Pacers team and a team that put a lot of emphasis on other guards. While he would not be the primary option, he would still be a great off-ball shooter that the team can rely on in the games.
He is also an experienced player, something severely lacking from this Cavaliers team. The Cavs really only have Ricky Rubio with relevant, long-term NBA experience in the rotation, and bringing in Lamb might help guards of a similar game to him. He would also cost next-to-nothing, both in terms of assets and in terms of contract costs, as he is due $10.5 million for this season before he enters free agency.
The key fact for the Cavs will be whether they want to permanently add to their squad or just put a bandaid on the roster. Regardless of what they choose, these three players would be great contributors to the squad. More importantly, they would fill the hole Sexton left and would help greatly in the Cavs playoff effort.