One of the more chaotic parts of the NBA’s offseason is finally upon us.
The NBA’s free agency negotiation period will officially begin on Friday at 6 p.m. EDT. The Cavs will have some of their own free agents to try and bring back, including guards Caris LeVert and Danny Green. They managed to lock down a few of their bench players over the last few weeks, starting with picking up a team option for forward Lamar Stevens.
Cleveland likely won’t have any pure cap space to work with as it enters the NBA’s free agency period. But, since it is still under the NBA’s $165 million NBA Luxury Tax Threshold, it will have the Non-Taxpayer Mid-Level and, if needed, the Bi-Annual exceptions to work with when looking for potential free agents.
Plenty of rumors have swirled about the Cavs before the start of free agency. Yahoo! Sports Senior NBA Reporter Jake Fischer reviewed a few wing targets the Cleveland Cavaliers could be eyeing in a Wednesday article.
“The Cavaliers are looking at all kinds of wing targets, sources said, from Strus to Kelly Oubre to Georges Niang,” wrote Fischer. “There appears to be enough of an interest in Strus around the NBA that league figures aren’t expecting the DePaul product to return to Miami, and Strus sounds likely to command above the full mid-level in average annual salary when everything’s said and done.”
With just hours before the start of the negotiation period, what are some last-minute predictions for the Cavs before the start of the NBA’s free agency period?
The Cavs will find a way to re-sign Caris LeVert
Bringing back LeVert may be costly, as Cleveland.com Cavs reporter Chris Fedor detailed in a Tuesday article.
“So, is there a financial compromise? Sources say the Cavs are planning to offer LeVert a contract somewhere in the range of $15-18 million annually — a deal that would keep him out of the midlevel market but not harm the team’s expected pursuit of outside help as well,” Fedor wrote. “The preference is to re-sign LeVert and acquire a free agent or two with the MLE.”
Keeping LeVert around would ensure the Cavs could at least have some depth off the bench heading into next season. Cleveland needs scorers outside guard Donovan Mitchell, guard Darius Garland, forward Evan Mobley and center Jarrett Allen. The four combined for 80.4 points per game during the regular season.
LeVert scored 12.1 per game and shot at an inefficient 43.1% from the field last season. But he can be an option the Cavs can try to keep around before they search for players who can address other needs later in free agency.
Cleveland will add a reliable small forward
Alex Sabri ·
If there were any time to find a starting three, it would be now.
For a while now, Cleveland has needed a reliable small forward to fit alongside Mitchell, Mobley, Allen and Garland in the starting five. The Cavs will have a few potential forward options return for the 2023-24 season. Stevens, forwards Cedi Osman, Isaac Okoro and Dean Wade did earn starting roles last season. But, to take the next step forward, they need a player who can be the surefire starter on any given night.
Cleveland could try to pull off a sign-and-trade for a more experienced player who may not fit within either exception that is available to the Cavs. Miami Herald reporter Barry Jackson wrote the Miami Heat may have spoken to the Cavaliers and one other team about a sign-and-trade involving Heat guard Max Strus in a Friday tweet.
Without limited options for a sign-and-trade and with their exceptions only going for so much, it could be hard to find a dream forward for the Cavs in free agency. But, as long as they find a player who can take a starting role in the regular season and the playoffs, they can try to move on to find bigs and shooting specialists to strengthen the bench before players can officially be signed on July 6.