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Cavaliers trade deadline primer: needs, targets, and assets

With less than two weeks until the NBA's February 6th trade deadline, the first major trade of the season went down on Monday, sending Washington Wizards forward Rui Hachimura to the Los Angeles Lakers in exchange for LA guard Kendrick Nunn and three 2nd round picks. So, with the ball officially rolling, it's time to check out some of names that could soon be donning the Wine and Gold.

Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

But first, let's determine what the Cavs need. As the season began, Cleveland had one obvious weakness. It wasn't the backcourt, with Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell, nor was it the frontcourt, with Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen. It was the small forward position. Caris LeVert, who the Cavaliers acquired at last season's deadline, got the opening night start, but he and head coach JB Bickerstaff mutually agreed to move him to a sixth man role beginning in late November. LeVert, Isaac Okoro, Lamar Stevens, and Dean Wade have all started at small forward for extended stretches this season, with Cedi Osman getting consistent minutes as well. That's not all, either, as third-year wing Dylan Windler, who's been nursing an ankle injury all season, will likely be in the mix for rotational playing time when he gets back.

All that is to say, there's may not be one right solution to the distribution of wing minutes in Cleveland, but they do have plenty of options when it comes to who stays and who - if anyone - goes.

While small forward presents the most glaring chance for Cavs GM Koby Altman to make a move, a big man to come off the bench is something to consider as well. Allen and Mobley are one of the best frontcourt duos in the league, but Cleveland's depth leaves something to be desired. Only other two players on the Cavaliers roster - excluding two-way bigs Mamadi Diakite and Isaiah Mobley - play power forward or center: the first is Cavs legend Kevin Love, who unfortunately has lost his shooting stroke from deep ever since he suffered a fractured thumb. That's essentially turned him into nothing more than a very good rebounder and a defensive liability. The other reserve is Robin Lopez, who's play makes it no secret that he's 34 years old, as he's played his way out of Bickerstaff's rotation. That means if Cleveland wants to compete, they may need to consider using their surplus of wings to get themselves some insurance on the low post.

So what know what the Cavs need, but what do they have to offer?

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Contractually Untouchable: Darius Garland

(poison pill restriction), Dean Wade (recently extended)

Logically Untouchable: Donovan Mitchell, Jarrett Allen, Evan Mobley

Expiring Contracts: Caris LeVert ($18.8 million, UFA), Kevin Love ($28.9 million, UFA), Dylan Windler ($4 million, RFA), Lamar Stevens ($1.8 million, team option 2023), Raul Neto ($1.8 million, UFA), Robin Lopez ($1.8 million, UFA)

Other Team Controlled Contract: Isaac Okoro ($7 million, RFA 2024)

Other Non-Team Controlled Contracts: Ricky Rubio ($5.8 million, UFA 2025), Cedi Osman ($7.4 million, UFA 2024)

Draft Picks: Zero tradeable 1st round picks, eight tradeable 2nd round picks

It's also important to note that Cleveland is walking a fine line when it comes to the salary cap, so while we may indicate that certain targets are available for nothing but draft picks, in many cases the Cavaliers would have to get players involved due to cap concerns.

Ok, now with all that on the table, we've picked out seven potential wing additions, as well as three candidates to help out in the post, so without further ado, let's dig into the possible deadline additions (in no particular order) for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Josh Richardson

Season Stats: 11.4 PTS | 2.6 REB | 3.2 AST | 0.8 STL | 1.4 TOV | 44.6% FG | 36.9% 3PT

Photos by Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images

We'll start with the wing candidates since that seems to be the consensus biggest need for Cleveland, and up first is Richardson. His shooting splits are down, but he strikes a nice balance of being a veteran who's still on the right side of 30. Richardson can provide solid minutes off the bench for the Cavs, and he would bring in a load of valuable playoff experience, something Cleveland doesn't have a ton of. A move to acquire Richardson won't make a big splash, but he's an intriguing budget option, with Michael Scotto of USA TODAY Sports and HoopsHype reporting that the 29 year-old can be pried away from the rebuilding Spurs for a 2nd round pick.

Luke Kennard

Season Stats: 8.7 PTS | 2.5 REB | 1.2 AST | 0.9 TOV | 48.9% FG | 46.2% 3PT

Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Kennard hasn't been linked to the Cavs much, if at all, but he'd be an extremely high quality add. The sixth-year sharpshooter paced the league last season with his 44.9% clip from beyond the three-point arc, and he's only gotten better this year, improving to 46.2%, albeit on lower volume. And that lower volume could be a beautiful thing for Altman & company, because it reveals a potential willingness to move Kennard by the Clippers. LA is currently a middling team with high hopes, who could be looking to retool, and a player who's minutes and shots have dropped for no apparent reason sounds like exactly the kind of man who could be shipped off as a part of that process. The Clippers would be looking for a rotation player in exchange for Kennard, according to The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor.

Tim Hardaway Jr

Season Stats: 14.1 PTS | 3.3 REB | 1.5 AST | 0.8 STL | 0.9 TOV | 38.7% FG | 36.3% 3PT

Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

Hardaway has been a rumored target of Cleveland's for a while now, with many - including Marc Stein - suggesting potential three-team trades involving Hardaway and LeVert, with a variety of third teams involved, including the Jazz, who would ship off Malik Beasley. Neither Hardaway nor LeVert is the clear better player, but the Maverick is a prime candidate if the Cavaliers opt for more of a small retool than a full-on bench shake-up. Altman would be sacrificing the superior playmaking and three-level scoring of LeVert in favor of the spot-up shooting of Hardaway, which he may be willing to do in light of point guard Ricky Rubio's recent return from ACL surgery.

Cam Reddish

Season Stats: 8.4 PTS | 1.6 REB | 1.0 AST | 0.8 STL | 0.8 TOV | 44.9% FG | 30.4% 3PT

Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images

Reddish hasn't appeared in a game for the Knicks since early December despite his good health, making him one of the most obvious pieces in the league to move at the deadline. Reddish has some consistency issues offensively, much like Caris LeVert, but also like LeVert, he's extremely dangerous during a hot streak. Additionally, the Duke product is 6'8" with a 7'1" wingspan, length JB Bickerstaff would certainly be happy to work with defensively. The current asking price for Reddish is one or two 2nd round picks, per Ian Begley of SNY. Reddish isn't the preferred addition at that price, as others like Richardson would be better fits, but he's an intriguing insurance option if Altman is beaten to the punch elsewhere.

Joe Harris

Season Stats: 8.4 PTS | 2.8 REB | 1.6 AST | 0.7 TOV | 44.9% FG | 39.7% 3PT

Photo by Dustin Satloff/Getty Images

One of the most obvious roster redundancies in the NBA right now lies in Brooklyn. Harris, Yuta Watanabe, and Seth Curry all play the role of a spot-up sharpshooter, so one of them may very well be on the move soon. We'll pick out Harris as the black sheep, as his percentages, while very good, are the worst of the three. The main stumbling block with Harris is his contract - over $18 million per year this season and next season - but the Cavs could look to capitalize on that, as they could potentially recoup some minor draft capital in exchange for taking on Harris' contract, especially if Cleveland includes an expiring contract in the deal.

Josh Hart

Season Stats: 9.6 PTS | 8.3 REB | 4.1 AST | 1.1 STL | 1.6 TOV | 50.3% FG | 30.3% 3PT

Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Hart's Blazers are struggling this season, and will be "heavily involved" in trade talks regarding all their players except for Damian Lillard, according to Chris Haynes of TNT and Bleacher Report. If the Cavs are a part of those talks, it'll be regarding Hart, who comes at the "3 and D" title from a slightly different angle. He's just a fine three-point shooter this year, but he's particularly strong defensively. Despite being just 6'5", the former Villanova Wildcat can guard one through five, so he would help fortify an already fantastic defense. Hart is also a phenomenal rebounder, meaning if he entered the Cavs rotation, that could finally push out a floundering Kevin Love. Hart is a pricier option though, so Cavs fans would need to hold their breath waiting to hear the package if a move is made for him.

Doug McDermott

Season Stats: 10.2 PTS | 2.4 REB | 1.4 AST | 0.9 TOV | 48.3% FG | 42.1% 3PT

Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Another Spurs wing who'll likely be on the move this year, McDermott should certainly be on Cleveland's radar. While his defense is lacking, he's an outstanding shooter that would certainly fill the Cavaliers need of a spot-up sniper off the bench. San Antonio is sure to be selling, so acquiring McDermott wouldn't be overly difficult. The current perceived value for the ninth-year veteran is one or two 2nd round picks, although it's entirely possible that the Cavs decide to complicate things a little bit and pursue multiple Spurs .players

Mason Plumlee

Season Stats: 12.0 PTS | 9.8 REB | 3.6 AST | 0.7 STL | 0.7 BLK | 1.5 TOV | 66.8% FG

Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

Moving on to the big men now, we'll start with Plumlee. The ten-year pro is enjoying his most productive season to date, although he's still considered a bottom tier starting center. That narrative would flip, however, in the event of a trade. Plumlee would quickly become one of the premiere backup bigs in the NBA. Plumlee can not only rebound and finish just like any other big in the league, but he's a remarkably good passer, something he has in common with Mobley and Allen, making him a seamless fit if he were to join the Wine and Gold. Plus, the tanking Hornets should be eager to get rid of the veteran seven-footer, as it would free up minutes for the younger Mark Williams and Nick Richards. There isn't much hype around Plumlee, but he should be a favorite target of Cavs fans. Plumlee is rumored to be worth one or two 2nd rounders, per Rory Maher of HoopsRumors.

Richaun Holmes

Season Stats: 3.4 PTS | 2.3 REB | 0.2 AST | 0.4 TOV | 68.8% FG

Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

A move to pick up Holmes wouldn't exactly inspire major excitement in The Land, but he's a potential steal. His minutes have tanked in Sacramento due to the arrival of Domantas Sabonis, but he was a double-digit per game scorer from 2019-2020 to 2021-2022, and one-plus block per game player from '18-'19 to '20-'21. At only 29 years old, it seems reasonable to assume that he's been largely pushed out of the rotation due to circumstance, not ability. Holmes could give Cleveland 25 solid minutes per game off the bench, and be a fine fill-in if Mobley or Allen were to go down with an ailment.

Zach Collins

Season Stats: 9.5 PTS | 5.6 REB | 2.5 AST | 0.7 BLK | 2.0 TOV | 54.1% FG | 38.6% 3PT

Photo by Michael Gonzales/NBAE via Getty Images

We'll check out one more Spur in the form of Collins to round things out. San Antonio may elect to keep the 25 year-old to continue his development if they deal current starter Jakob Poeltl, but Collins will undoubtedly garner some interest, especially as he's currently riding a timely streak of solid play. The Gonzaga product has proven that he's not one to back down from a scuffle, so he would serve as an enforcer type player on a Cleveland team that lacks anyone to play that role. Collins is also one of the few budget center options with a three-point shot. He doesn't shoot a high volume of deep shots, but at 38% three point shooting is another skill he has that the Cavs current bigs don't.

And that'll do it for our Cleveland Cavaliers trade deadline primer. Be sure to let us know who you'd like to see coming and going from the Cavs, and feel free to come back and mock us after the deadline when you realize we went 0/10 on our trade candidates.

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