As far as the Cleveland Cavaliers have come over the past few years, they still have a long way to go on their quest to bring the Larry O’Brien trophy back to The Land for the first time since the 2015-16 season.
The Cavaliers need extra shooting talent to take the next step as potential playoff contenders. Though they made 37% of their attempts from 25-29 feet during the regular season, putting them at seventh in the NBA, their 37.6% from 15-19 feet and 36.4% from 20-24 feet put them at 29th and 24th in the league, respectively.
Cavs President of Basketball Operations Koby Altman emphasized spacing and shooting as he addressed the media in late April, adding there wouldn’t be any sweeping changes or overreactions after the Cavs’ first-round loss to the New York Knicks.
“So I think obviously we would love to add some level of shooting that could give our guys some more space,” Altman said, via the Akron Beacon Journal. “You know, you have a wishlist as a general manager to add to. No roster is perfect. Going through these playoffs, you can see different weaknesses in different teams.
“Again, I refocus it back to, what do we have in house and how excited are we about those guys and their upside and their development? They’re just getting started.”
Who could be some shooting options to look out for during the offseason? And how would they fit in a Cavs roster in need of extra bench depth and shooting specialists?
Will Watanabe continue his impressive shooting streak from last season in a Cavaliers uniform?
Watanabe, who formerly played for the Memphis Grizzlies and Toronto Raptors, averaged 5.6 points, 2.4 rebounds and 0.8 assists per game in 58 games and one start last season. The 6-foot-9-inch forward has only improved since the 12.5% he shot from the 3-point line during his first season with the Memphis Grizzlies. He has made 39% of his long-range attempts over this 5-year NBA career, peaking at the 44.4% he shot just last season.
He made as many as five 3-point shots during a 2-point win over the Portland Trail Blazers in November, hitting 71.4% of his tries from behind the arc as he garnered 20 points for the Nets off the bench in the Moda Center.
Watanabe is listed as an unrestricted free agent in 2023. He had signed a 1-year contract worth about $1.9 million for the 2022-23 season. Should he try to sign a deal the Cavs can comfortably afford within their Non-Taxpayer Midlevel or Bi-Annual exception, he could provide some valuable shooting help for a Cavaliers bench that made 34.1% of its 3-point attempts, putting it at 19th in the NBA, according to NBA.com.
From one Nets player to another.
Curry, a 9-season veteran in the NBA, averaged 9.2 points, 1.6 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game in 61 games played and seven starts for Brooklyn last season. He shot at a 40.5% clip for the Nets from the 3-point line last season, hitting an average of 1.5 of his 3.8 attempted shots during the 19.9 minutes he played per game.
The 6-foot-2-inch guard hit seven of his ten 3-point shots twice during the 2022-23 season. He shot at the 70% mark once during a 14-point win over the Blazers in November and again during a 4-point loss to the Philadelphia 76ers in January.
“I’ve always felt like if I get good shots I’m going to make them at a high clip,” Curry said following the 111-97 win over Portland in November, via the Associated Press. “Our offense was flowing pretty well. Guys found me open early on to start the game and I felt pretty good, aggressive.”
Quenton Albertie ·
Curry is listed as an unrestricted free agent in 2023. He completed the final year of the 4-year, $32 million contract he signed with the Dallas Mavericks in 2019. The Cavs can try to bring the 32-year-old guard aboard with their midlevel exception if he can stay within the $8 million average range he earned during his previous contract or sign for a lower value.
Ross, a former No. 8-overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, split time with the Orlando Magic and the Phoenix Suns during the 2022-23. He signed with the Suns after being bought out by the Magic in February.
“At the last second, really, I was just talking a lot to James (Jones) and talking to Monty and just kinda understanding what my role would be, and I just felt like this was a better fit,” Ross said on choosing the Suns over the Dallas Mavericks, via PHNX Sports Suns writer Gerald Bourguet.
He averaged 8.3 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game during his 11th season in the NBA. Though he didn’t shoot at an elite level for the two teams last season, he still made a comfortable 36.8% of his long range shots in 63 games and nine starts.
Like the other two options, Ross is listed as an unrestricted free agent for 2023. The 6-foot-6-inch forward can provide some extra depth at either wing spot if he can sign at a manageable level for the Cavaliers.