The Cleveland Cavaliers have a 23-18 record on the year, and have exceeded the expectations of many thus far this season. Them getting through a gauntlet of a schedule in the first third or so of the campaign was nothing to sneeze at with how they did, and even with the injuries and COVID-19-related absences they had, the club has hung in there.
Nonetheless, losing the likes of Collin Sexton early on in the season to a torn meniscus and more recently, Ricky Rubio to a torn ACL have been both blows to the team. The Cavaliers did acquire Rajon Rondo via trade from the Los Angeles Lakers, who is still a more than capable reserve primary playmaker, and is such an intelligent player.
Rondo is not a guy that’s nearly going to provide the scoring presence of Rubio, even with him having streakiness but proving to make a difference seemingly given more of a green light than in years past with Cleveland this season.
The Cavs and general manager, who was recently extended and is formally now Cleveland’s President of Basketball Operations, Koby Altman, are still reportedly looking to acquire more playmaking help though, and one would imagine scoring on the wing to help ease the burden on Darius Garland. That’s with the Sexton and Rubio injuries, and to some extent, Isaac Okoro still being sidelined for perhaps another couple of weeks with an elbow sprain.
That said, even with how Rubio has been a key contributor on and off the floor this season, it is understandable that the Cavs could look to move his expiring contract of $17.8 million in a potential trade to land another playmaking, and ideally, shooting presence. In that realm, other teams are reportedly showing interest in a deal involving Rubio’s contract, packaged with draft picks, per Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium (subscription required).
In relation to potential targets for the Cavs in general via trade, Charania’s report mentioned how the Cavaliers are a team that’s interested in the Indiana Pacers’ Caris LeVert, who has been a player that’s been mentioned in trade rumors.
Along with LeVert, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com mentioned in a recent tweet/report how other possible trade targets for Cleveland could be the Boston Celtics’ Dennis Schroder, the Utah Jazz’s Joe Ingles, the Toronto Raptors’ Goran Dragic, the Memphis Grizzlies’ Kyle Anderson, and the blockbuster one, in the Philadelphia 76ers’ (currently) Ben Simmons.
I’m personally not a fan of Simmons for the Cavs, and Dragic is not a player I’d be in on, nor Schroder, with the Cavs’ recent addition of Rondo in the mind for Dragic and Schroder. Schroder and Dragic can score their share of points, and both to some degree can facilitate, but giving up anything of value for Schroder or Dragic doesn’t excite me, and I don’t know if I’d bring either back looking onward.
With Ingles, he’s more a bonafide shooting presence, playmaker and is still a quality defender. Him being on an expiring deal at 34 is not something I’m loving, though, and the Cavaliers would likely have to give up something far more impactful than Rubio’s contract and picks.
With Anderson, he is expiring as well; his defensive versatility and playmaking I’d consider looking more into, in fairness. So we’ll see on that front; even still, as Fedor stated, it’s unclear if Memphis would consider dealing him.
In the case with LeVert, I do get it if Cleveland looked to acquire him, however, I’m not the biggest fan of his style, and him not being a floor spacing presence from three-point range still concerns me. Looking onward, the injury issues with him I don’t love in recent seasons, either.
With all of that said, a hypothetical deal that I believe the Cavaliers should consider pursuing is one that might be somewhat off the beaten path with the Orlando Magic, but I do think could make a difference from a depth and shooting perspective. It wouldn’t affect team chemistry too much I don’t believe, either.
We’ll get into why the Cavs should consider this potential deal with the Magic now, and more into the impact from there.
Alrighty, let’s get into it.