The Cleveland Cavaliers will have their work cut out for them if the Cavs want to make a further jump in the playoffs.
They still need a backup center to take rebounding responsibilities and take pressure off of forward Evan Mobley and center Jarrett Allen. They need reliable scoring options off the bench to potentially expand the rotation for head coach J.B. Bickerstaff to work with. And all while adding to the team’s shooting ability with players who can reliably stretch the floor and allow for a more dynamic offense.
“I think for sure shooting, I think everybody would love to add some shooting,” Altman said when asked what skillsets he’d be looking for this summer, via ESPN Cavs reporter Danny Cunningham. “But we’re not going to overreact and make sweeping changes to a roster that had 51 wins.”
What trade targets should the Cavaliers go after in the offseason to help boost its roster? And will Cleveland need to focus on pursuing plug-and-play options for its roster to try and win now, or risk playing the long game with options that would ultimately fit more with the team’s future?
Tim Hardaway Jr.
Could this be the time Cleveland finally swoops in and trades for Dallas Mavericks guard Tim Hardaway Jr.?
The Cavs were rumored to be “keeping an eye on” the Mavericks guard in January ahead of the trade deadline.
“Tim Hardaway Jr. is somebody that the Cavs have been watching and they’ve been keeping an eye on,” Cleveland.com Cavs reporter Chris Fedor said on the “Please Don’t Aggregate This” podcast in January. “And I think if the Cavs have their choice, it would be very, very close. And they’re not going to have their choice.
“It doesn’t work that way. But if they had their choice, it would be between Bojan (Bogdanovic) and Tim Hardaway Jr.”
Hardaway Jr., a former member of the Knicks and the Atlanta Hawks, ended the 2022-23 season with averages of 14.4 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game for Dallas. He shot 38.5% from 3-point range on 7.7 attempts per game.
The 31-year-old guard is set to make $17.9 million in the 2023-24 season, making him a more expensive option for Cleveland to pursue. But the former Michigan guard would be a welcomed addition to a roster that averaged 36.7% from long range in the regular season and 32.7% in the playoffs.
Finney-Smith averaged 8.3 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game last season for the Mavericks and Brooklyn Nets in 66 games played and started, according to Basketball Reference. He suited up in four games against the Cavaliers last season, two for Dallas and two for the Nets, where he averaged 6.8 points and 3.8 rebounds per game.
The 6-foot-7-inch forward didn’t have the greatest shooting season during the 2022-23 campaign, hitting 33.7% of his long-range attempts, but has a career average of 35.7% from behind the arc.
Finney-Smith is slated to make $13.4 million in the 2023-24 season, a figure that would make him the 4th-highest paid player on the Cavaliers’ roster, according to Spotrac. But, should they try and pursue the 29-year-old, he would provide a solid two-way option for the Cavs who could immediately earn minutes either as a starter or off the bench.
Anderson averaged 9.4 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game for the Minnesota Timberwolves last season, knocking down 50.9% of his shots from the floor and 41.0% of his attempts from 3-point range. His playing time in the playoffs stretches back to 2016, when he played in series for a Kawhi Leonard-led San Antonio Spurs team that fell in the second round to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Anderson sports the cheapest cap hit of the listed options, coming in at $9.2 million for the 2023-24 campaign. He is set to become an unrestricted free agent in 2024.
The 6-foot-9-inch forward could be a plug-and-play option that could slot in at the small forward, should Cleveland be able to pry him from the Timberwolves and find a way to keep him long-term.
Rexwell Villas ·
Cleveland may have been in the running for Bogdanovic, but the trade price may have been too high for the Cavs to pay, Jake Fischer of Yahoo! Sports wrote in a January article.
“The Cavaliers are indeed a Bogdanovic suitor, sources said, but it will be rather difficult, and perhaps impossible, for Cleveland to reach Detroit’s lofty asking price for the veteran sharpshooter,” wrote Fischer.
Bogdanovic averaged 21.6 points while shooting 48.8% from the field and an efficient 41.1% from the 3-point line. He led a young Pistons squad in scoring, taking spots over former Purdue guard Jaden Ivey and a Villanova product in forward Saddiq Bey.
But, as always, acquiring the former teammate of Cavs guard Donovan Mitchell will come at a hefty price.
Bogdanovic will make an even $20 million during the 2023-24 season and a partially-guaranteed $19 million the season after. His shooting and efficient scoring are much-needed skills for this Cavaliers roster, but it will depend on how much the Cavs will need to shell out to get him on the team.