What can the Cleveland Cavaliers do at the start of NBA free agency on Friday?
Cleveland can try to add multiple options off the bench to try and boost its production before it tries to make another run for the NBA Playoffs. The Cavs will have all of their big four under contract next season, but they will likely need to add extra depth at the three, four and five in free agency to take pressure off Cleveland’s young starters.
The Cavs have made a few moves to keep some of their own in The Land. Cleveland decided to pick up the team option of forward Lamar Stevens last week. It fully guaranteed the contract of forward Cedi Osman. It tendered a two-way offer to Cavs and Cleveland Charge forward Isaiah Mobley on Thursday.
With the NBA’s free agency negotiation period starting on Friday at 6 p.m. EDT, Cleveland may need to turn to avenues other than using one of its key exceptions to bring a productive free agent aboard.
Miami Herald reporter Barry Jackson wrote the Miami Heat may have spoken to the Cleveland Cavaliers and one other team about a sign-and-trade involving Heat guard Max Strus in a Friday tweet.
“Per source, Heat has spoken to Cleveland and a third team about sign and trade involving Strus, with Strus going to Cavs in this scenario,” Jackson wrote. “Heat would get back small assets (not a player, in permutation discussed).”
Should the Cavs go after Heat guard Max Strus? What could he bring to the Cavaliers?
Max Strus is a 6-foot-5 guard who currently plays for the Heat.
A former unranked recruit from Hickory Hills, Ill., Strus played for two seasons at Lewis University, where he played and started in 64 games. He transferred to DePaul University in Chicago in 2016. He would spend three seasons with the Blue Demons, playing alongside now-Philadelphia 76ers forward Paul Reed for two seasons before declaring for the NBA Draft in 2018.
Strus signed a two-way contract with the Chicago Bulls in 2019. He played in two games for Chicago and 13 for the Windy City Bulls in the G League’s regular season during his 2019-20 campaign. He would sign an Exhibit 10 deal with the Heat in 2020 before eventually having it converted into a two-way contract. He would be re-signed to a two-year deal in 2021.
Max Strus has played in 189 total NBA games and started in 49. He earned averages of 11.5 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.1 points for the Heat last season, but shot at an inefficient 41% from the field. He played in 23 games for the Heat during the playoffs, including in five games as Miami faced off against the Denver Nuggets in the NBA Finals.
Strus, as inefficient as he was during the regular season, could be a decent option off the bench should Cleveland choose to sign him.
Strus certainly won’t solve every issue the Cavs need to address during the offseason.
Strus’s time in the playoffs will make him a valuable fit for Cleveland. If Cleveland was able to lock him down for a while, he could provide at least a short-term answer to the need for extra bench options.
Cleveland will have six unrestricted free agents hit the market this year. Guard Caris LeVert, who scored 12.1 points per game and hit 43.1% of his field goal attempts last season, will be one of them. Forwards Lamar Stevens, Dean Wade, Cedi Osman and guard Sam Merrill make up some of the team’s returning bench options at the shooting guard, the small forward and the power forward for next season.
Christopher Smith ·
The Cavs did need more sizable options to come off the bench after the New York Knicks took them down in five games. They also need players who consistently knock down shots from beyond the arc. Max Strus shot at an inefficient 41% from the field and 35% from the 3-point line during the regular season, averages that dropped to 40.2% and 31.9% during the playoffs, respectively.
It can be easy to be allured by the thought of a potential sign-and-trade, especially after the Cavs fell in five games to the Knicks in their first playoff series since 2018. Cleveland will need to find better options to complement its big four in the offseason, especially if they can provide scoring and shooting help and be a reliable big to take the pressure off of forward Evan Mobley and center Jarrett Allen.
But whether it is worth bringing Strus aboard depends on the price.
Would it be worth using a sign-and-trade to bring Max Strus in? Could he start immediately or carve out a more prominent role for the Cavs if he was brought to Cleveland?
Only time will tell, Cavs Nation.
All we can do is wait.