The Cleveland Cavaliers are having a better season than most would have imagined or expected. They rank among the top teams in the Eastern Conference and have among the highest defensive ratings in the league. Their roster is surely designed to be a force throughout the regular season. However, it’s questionable whether they can compete at the elite level during the postseason. Having said that, Cleveland’s small forward position is their biggest weakness. As they pursue a daring postseason push this year, they should at least attempt to enhance that. As such, here we will look at the players the Cavs must move ahead of the 2023 NBA trade deadline, including Caris LeVert.
The Cavaliers have been marginally successful in filling their small forward spot with various players. However, they will eventually need to make a permanent addition. That said, they do lack the big-time assets to package in a blockbuster deal. They do not really have a bevy of first-round picks to trade for a player of their desired caliber. Additionally, their second-round picks may not be enough to attract top forwards like Bojan Bogdanovic. Right now, the Cavs’ best chance of finding a suitable player may be through free agency using the mid-level exception.
Still, if Cleveland really wants to explore possible trade deadline deals, Caris LeVert and Cedi Osman are potential candidates to consider shipping out. Keep in mind that LeVert’s expiring contract makes him a valuable asset in trades. His role on the team is also diminishing with the return of other players.
With that said, let’s look at the players the Cavs must move ahead of the 2023 NBA trade deadline.
2. Cedi Osman
Cedi Osman’s name has been brought up in various trade talks. The Cavaliers, in fact, have previously expressed interest in acquiring Phoenix Suns forward Jae Crowder. Do not be shocked if this continues to come up as the trade deadline approaches.
Take note that Osman’s playing time this season has decreased with Isaac Okoro and Lamar Stevens alternating in the starting lineup. Osman’s $7.4 million salary is also a manageable and attractive option for teams.
A potential trade partner for Osman could be the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls could offer Alex Caruso in return. Caruso is a valuable asset for playoff-contending teams due to his low salary and his ability to guard top players in a series. Of course, the Cavs may need to include additional assets in the trade to balance out the swap. This is because Osman alone may not be enough for the return package from Chicago.
1. Caris LeVert
Caris LeVert drills the tough three, AND-1 💪🏼pic.twitter.com/YNF3uYb2wX
— Cavs Nation (@CavsNationCP) January 11, 2023
Truth be told, the Cavs have a well-balanced roster. With many players under 27 years old, they also don’t need to urgently trade anyone. However, if they were to trade someone, Caris LeVert would be a likely candidate. This is due to his below-average shooting statistics and the team’s offensive performance dipping when he is on the floor. LeVert’s expiring contract of $18.8 million also makes him a valuable trade chip.
The Cavaliers could trade LeVert for a wing player who can better fill their SF position. Potential targets include the aforementioned Crowder, Tobias Harris of the Philadelphia 76ers, or even Robert Williams of the Boston Celtics. Alternatively, they could also make a play for the Utah Jazz’s Malik Beasley, who has a proven track record of being a volume three-point shooter and can get hot in an instant.