Another year, another round of Cedi Osman trade talks.
The 28-year-old forward’s trade discussions went as far back as November this season, when he was named the Cleveland Cavaliers’ top trade candidate for the 2022-23 season by HoopsHype.
“When the Cavaliers expressed interest in acquiring Suns forward Jae Crowder, Cedi Osman’s name came up in the trade talks, league sources told HoopsHype,” wrote NBA HoopsHype writer Michael Scotto. “It’s not the first time, nor the last, his name will likely come up in trade talks leading up to February’s trade deadline.”
The Cavs chose to stand pat at the trade deadline, keeping Osman on board before signing a veteran guard in Danny Green just a few days later. Green and Osman would share minutes in the Cavs’ 5-game playoff series against the New York Knicks in Games 2, 3, 4 and 5.
On Wednesday, the talks resurfaced yet again.
Hoops Wire Senior NBA Writer Sam Amico wrote the Cavs had a decision to make on Cedi Osman in a Wednesday article.
“Actually, the Cavs do love Osman,” wrote Amico. “They just have to decide how much by June 29. That is when the guaranteed date for the $6.7 million on Osman’s contract sets in. If the Cavs decline to guarantee Osman’s deal … well, let’s just say he probably won’t return.
“There are plenty of members of the organization who think Osman will in fact be playing for the Cavs next season, at least at the start. There’s another segment that strongly believes the Cavs are ready to move on.”
Should Cleveland keep Osman as the 2023 NBA offseason rolls around? And how would he fit with the Cavs if they do?
The case for Cedi Osman
It would be hard to imagine a more recent Cavaliers roster without Cedi Osman.
Osman is a holdover from the tail end of the 4-year battle between Cleveland and the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals. The 28-year-old forward lasted through every one of the Cavs’ rebuilding years between their Finals trip in 2018 and their near-run to the playoffs in 2022.
The 6-foot-7-inch still found a role of his own after Cleveland traded for guard Donovan Mitchell and fought its way into the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference, picking up 77 appearances and two starts during the 2022-23 season. He averaged 8.7 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game during his sixth listed season with the Cavs. He shot at a comfortable 37.2% from the 3-point line on 4.1 attempts per game and hit as many as seven 3-pointers during the regular season.
Osman had productive minutes in the playoffs. He consistently played in 14 minutes or more during the postseason and as many as 23 during the team’s Game 2 win over New York, according to Basketball Reference.
Osman’s experience, 3-point shooting and time spent with the franchise can make him a valuable part of a budding Cavaliers roster.
But will that be enough to keep him on the team after this season?
The case against Cedi Osman
Osman’s contract may be the easiest thing to point out when trying to find a reason to offload the long-time Cavalier.
Osman signed a 4-year $31-million contract extension to stay with the Cavaliers in 2019, locking him down for the foreseeable future after he scored 13 points and brought down 4.7 rebounds per game during the 2018-19 season.
“I really feel like I’m home,” Osman said in 2019, via Cleveland.com Cavs reporter Chris Fedor. “I just really wanted to stay where I belong. I love being here, I love the organization. I’m just happy here, with the coaches, with the organization, with my teammates, we have a great brotherhood in here.”
Osman is listed with a $6.7 million non-guaranteed deal on Spotrac for the 2023-24 season. The contract becomes fully guaranteed on June 29. He will become an unrestricted free agent in 2024 if the Cavs choose not to re-sign him.
The non-guaranteed figure would make him the 6th-highest paid player on the Cavaliers’ roster for the 2023-24 season, putting him just ahead of Cavs guard Ricky Rubio and $1 million more than forward Dean Wade.
Should the Cavs keep Cedi Osman?
Osman’s future role on the squad will depend on whether the Cavs will try for any changes at the small forward in the offseason.
Cleveland could try finding a more solidified starter at the small forward spot. They could try to sign a shooting specialist at both wing spots or attempt to pull off some extra maneuvers for forwards like Royce O’Neale or Kelly Oubre.
If the Cavs can’t find a better role player at the three, it may be beneficial for them to hold off on a hasty trade involving Osman and wait until Cleveland at least has the option to bring in an upgrade at the three. He was inconsistent during the playoffs, but Osman’s shooting and minutes off the bench impacted a tightly-knit Cavs rotation.
Either way, with the Eastern Conference Finals still raging on between the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat and with the NBA Draft still a month away, the Cavs have plenty of time to figure things out.