How rumored Cavs trade target Malik Beasley could make an impact

The Cleveland Cavaliers are in nice shape right now, as they’re 28-17, are stout defensively, have one of the league’s best backcourts and have some quality veterans.

It is fair to suggest that Cleveland could use some scoring/shooting pop on the wing, though, and the Cavaliers have been rumored to be seeking help there. The Cavaliers have been linked to possible trade targets such as Bojan Bogdanovic and Tim Hardaway, and both of those players could aid the Cavs in those areas.

Also on the wing front for the Cavaliers, it was recently reported by longtime NBA Insider Marc Stein that the Cavs have “weighed” pursuing a three-team trade with the Utah Jazz and Atlanta Hawks (subscription required). Stein stated how a deal framework would involve Atlanta’s John Collins being sent to Utah, Cleveland would send Caris LeVert to Atlanta and Utah’s Malik Beasley would be acquired by Cleveland.

As KJG’s Josh Cornelissen suggested, picks would seemingly have to be involved in the deal, and in Cleveland’s case, Nickeil Alexander-Walker of Utah would be attached with Beasley for financial reasons.

LeVert has played well for the Cavs lately, but he’s a logical, expiring contract trade candidate and Beasley could provide a significant shooting lift.

Beasley’s shooting for the Cavs would be the crucial element to his potential acquisition.

In recent seasons, Beasley has made his imprint as a player who can get hot in an instant, and he has proven he can light it up as a volume three-point shooter. Over the past four seasons, he’s connected on 37.8 percent of his 7.5 deep attempts per game, as primarily a bench shooting presence, and in that span, has had 13.5 points per contest.

In 47 appearances with the Utah Jazz this season, he’s had 13.7 points per outing, and while his three-point shooting hit rate has dipped a bit to 35.5 percent, that can be somewhat misleading, with it being on 8.6 attempts per game.

He is amid a cold spell of late, but for a player playing 27.0 minutes per game as a bench shooter, that clip is solid, and only Buddy Hield and Anfernee Simons have attempted more deep shots this season at 411 attempts. Beasley is tied for second with 403.

The 26-year-old Beasley is a player that has shown movement shooting capabilities in recent seasons, also with his past few with the Minnesota Timberwolves in mind. With the Cavaliers, one could foresee him making his presence felt via movement looks coming off screens from Jarrett Allen and Kevin Love.

With that capability, and Beasley’s presence as a shooter generally off the catch, he could be a high quality kickoff target for Cleveland’s playmakers.

Now, Beasley can make some plays at times off the bounce as well, with him able to get to pull-up threes, hit looks off ball screens and he can hit some deep balls in transition, which could help spark runs. Also, Beasley can make some nice plays on drives to counter closeouts or in secondary transition/early offense.

In any case, with Beasley, as we’ve articulated, the crucial element that Cleveland would have to be prioritizing with this possible deal would be his potential perimeter shooting impact.

Granted, I can’t say that I’m necessarily sold on it, with others involved, such as the starting backcourt minutes with him in the fold, too, along with Ricky Rubio. The same goes for 3 man minutes regarding Cedi Osman, Dean Wade when he’s back from injury and Lamar Stevens.

All of that said, Beasley, who is signed through next season, looks to be a possible target that’ll be popping up in Cavs trade rumors to come here in coming days/weeks.

For reference, the NBA Trade Deadline is just around the corner on Feb. 9, and it’d appear to be a real possibility Cleveland could swing a deal for a wing/forward shooter, as Cornelissen emphasized.