The NBA trade deadline is less than three weeks away, and the Cleveland Cavaliers are expected to be major players in the trade market. One potential target is Sacramento Kings center Dewayne Dedmon, who is in the first year of a three-year $40 million contract, but has already publicly requested a trade. The Cavs can not only absorb Dedmon’s contract, but also provide the Kings with a replacement big m
Dedmon is a veteran in his seventh NBA season. He is 30 years old, averaging 4.9 points and 4.0 rebounds in 13.8 minutes per game. This comes after he scored more than 10 points per game over the previous two seasons with the Atlanta Hawks. Dedmon is not a bad player in the slightest. He is a solid rebounder, he can space the floor, and this season, out of all centers who have appeared in 20 or more games, he ranks 11th in defensive rating.
He’s just probably not worth $40 million over three years. The final year of his deal is guaranteed for only $1 million, which theoretically would make his contract quite valuable to other teams, but theory doesn’t always translate when it comes to trades, as we saw with J.R. Smith this past summer.
Sacramento is apparently looking to shed salary, as they dealt Trevor Ariza, Wenyen Gabriel, and Caleb Swanigan to the Atlanta Hawks for Kent Bazemore and his expiring $19 million contract. Dedmon is the team’s second-highest paid player this season after Harrison Barnes.
Given his dissatisfaction and his low minutes, it makes sense that Sacramento is looking to deal him. Paying a player about $1 million per minute played isn’t terrible when that player is LeBron James or Giannis Antetekounmpo, but when it’s a rotational big man, it’s a bit of an issue.
Tristan Thompson should be an attractive target for the Kings. He’d step in and start immediately, providing an upgrade at center. His $18.5 million contract will also come off the books after this season, giving Sacramento more cap space. Dedmon and Harry Giles works financially, and would be a good starting point for a deal. Thompson is having a career year for the Cavs, and that combined with his large and expiring cap hit should make him quite valuable. Giles is 21 and still very talented, but hasn’t been able to carve out a role with the Kings. He will be a free agent at the end of the season, but would have a chance to play consistently, similar to Marquese Chriss last season. A draft pick or two should also be part of the discussion.
John Henson is also an option for Sacramento. He isn’t as good as Thompson, and is rather injury-prone, but he’s played quite well this season, although his averages of 4.9 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists, and 1.2 blocks in 13.2 minutes per game may not show it. He owns the highest Player Efficiency Rating on the Cavs at 19.1, and finished with 10 points, seven boards, two assists, and three blocks against the Los Angeles Clippers last week. His $9.7 expiring hit won’t create as much cap space as Thompson, but he’ll also cost less to get, and his contract can be straight-up swapped for Dedmon’s.
For the Cavaliers, Dedmon would be a rotational player, and could even start at center if both Thompson and Henson are dealt. He could play out the rest of this season, rebuild his value, and Cleveland can trade him at next year’s deadline for another contract and more assets, continuing the cycle.
Dedmon is just one of many different players the Cavs could target over the next few weeks. Even if he isn’t sent to Cleveland, it’s almost a certainty that the Cavaliers will be making multiple moves, which will make them a team to watch very closely.