Best trade deadline deals in Cavaliers franchise history

Baron Davis, Cleveland Cavaliers. Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images
Baron Davis, Cleveland Cavaliers. Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images /
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The Cleveland Cavaliers have some decisions to make by the upcoming NBA Trade Deadline. Are they willing to give up their few remaining assets to take a swing at a starting small forward? Do they keep Caris LeVert and Isaac Okoro or move them for better-fitting pieces? Does Kevin Love have a long-term future with this team?

Part of the reason there is so much chatter around the Cavaliers and the trade deadline is that the Cavaliers are often players at this time of year. They have made a deal at the trade deadline in each of the last five seasons and in 13 of the last 18 seasons.

Many of the deals are small transactions, but some play a big role in reshaping the roster. Just last season the Cavs added Caris LeVert, now the center of Cleveland’s attention at this year’s deadline. Let’s look back into franchise history and ask the question: what are the five best trade deadline deals in Cavaliers history?

Best trade deadline deals #5: 2019 deal for a first-round pick

At the 2018-19 NBA Trade Deadline, the Cleveland Cavaliers were in the process of breaking down an NBA Finals team. LeBron James had left in free agency the past summer, and while the players continued to boast about their chances at “defending their throne” the front office moved at the deadline to sell off a few useful veterans.

In a three-team trade with the Sacramento Kings and Houston Rockets, the Cavaliers sent out Alec Burks, Nik Stauskas and Wade Baldwin IV in return for Brandon Knight, Marquese Chriss and a future first-round pick (they also swapped seconds, with the second going to Houston becoming Kenyon Martin Jr.).

Picking up a first-round pick was absolutely the right move during the team’s downward slope of their life cycle. That pick became Dylan Windler in 2019; while injuries have prevented Windler from becoming a reliable player, the Cavs had a chance with that pick to add a difference-maker; Jordan Poole, Keldon Johnson and Nic Claxton were three of the next five picks. It was a good return and the right move for a rebuilding team.