The Cleveland Cavaliers have cooled off recently after a scorching hot start to the season, but they still look like one of the top teams in the league in the early going. With their dominant backcourt duo of Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland leading the way, the Cavs have jumped out to an 11-6 record, which is good for third place in the Eastern Conference currently.
Many folks were curious whether or not Mitchell would fit in with Cleveland after a strange end to his tenure with the Utah Jazz, but he has been just what the Cavs needed early on this season. With Garland playing alongside him, and the center duo of Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley running the frontcourt, it’s easy to see why the Cavaliers have looked so good in the early going.
Like every team, though, the Cavs aren’t perfect, and there are areas for them to improve on their roster through the trade market. With trade rumors swirling like crazy to start the season, let’s take a look at the Cavs’ most realistic trade target and see why this player could be such an important addition for their team.
Cavs trade target: Malik Beasley
The Cavs already swung a trade with the Jazz for Mitchell, so why not go back to them in an effort to land Malik Beasley? It makes a lot of sense on the surface and could help stabilize what has been a bit of a shaky bench unit for Cleveland through the first 17 games of the season.
The Cavaliers have admittedly been dealing with some injuries in the early going, but their wing depth has been lacking in the early going. Caris LeVert has done well in a pretty big role, but it’s beginning to feel like he’s going to need some help off the bench if the Cavs really want to make some noise this season, even with Ricky Rubio coming back at some point.
That’s why Beasley would be such a shrewd addition for the Cavs. Beasley was picked up by the Jazz as part of the Rudy Gobert trade, and he has looked solid coming off the bench for Utah so far. Beasley is a strong scorer who can come off the bench or fill a starting role, and while his defense isn’t fantastic, that’s not why the Cavaliers would be trading for him.
Mitchell and Garland would largely allow Beasley to stay on the bench, and while Beasley can fill in at times at small forward, it’s not the best spot to play him at. Beasley would be at his best for Cleveland coming off the bench and providing them a scoring burst with Mitchell or Garland off the court. Right now, LeVert is having to handle a heavy load behind Mitchell and Garland, and it doesn’t seem sustainable.
Through his 19 games with the Jazz, Beasley has looked intent on putting together a bounce-back season after struggling in the 2021-22 season with the Timberwolves. Beasley’s shooting percentages are up, as is his scoring and rebounding. We saw during his time with Minnesota that Beasley can score close to 20 points per game when given the opportunity, and while that wouldn’t be necessary with Cleveland, it’s an enticing option to have on the bench.
The Cavs could realistically target a 3-and-D guard over Beasley, but Beasley’s offensive acumen feels like a better fit for Cleveland right now than adding a less skilled offensive player who can play better defense. The Cavaliers already have a strong defensive team, so they need to add a bit more scoring to their bench. That’s what makes Beasley the perfect fit for them.
The Jazz’s surprisingly hot start to the season has put them in a bit of an interesting spot, as they weren’t really intending on winning but instead find themselves as the second best team in the Western Conference. Utah doesn’t seem interested in trading Lauri Markkanen or Jordan Clarkson, but Beasley could be a sneaky trade target, even with their hot start.
Utah hasn’t ruled out a potential move for Beasley, which should be music to Cleveland’s ears. Beasley seems like the perfect addition to their bench unit, and given the state of their current roster, adding some more scoring certainly couldn’t hurt them.
The Cavs could likely stand pat this season and go on a deep postseason run, but if they want to be legitimate title contenders, it feels like they need to make a move or two to beef up their depth. Adding Beasley would be just what the doctor ordered, and if the Cleveland continues to slow down after a hot start, the front office may become convinced to swing a deal for Beasley.