Cavs’ deadline approach should give team confidence moving forward

Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

The NBA Trade Deadline saw of its share of action this week, with the Brooklyn Nets’ two prior megastars in Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant now being in new places after trades, and several other deals did eventually occur as the clock drew closer to Thursday at 3 PM.

Despite them being a club often mentioned in trade rumors, though, the Cleveland Cavaliers were not a team that would end up making a move at the 2023 deadline. The Cavs were a team that had long been linked to a number of possible wing trade targets, and players such as Caris LeVert, Cedi Osman, seemingly Kevin Love and Dylan Windler had been players commonly named that could be possibly moved.

But ultimately, the Cavaliers would stand pat as the deadline passed on Thursday afternoon, and while that may have not led to maybe as much chatter as other fan bases, it wasn’t the end of the world.

This is a surging group that is getting much, much healthier, and following the team not making a trade, it might just work out plenty fine after all. That could lead to the team having more confidence as an overall group from here, too.

The Cavs standing pat could feasibly give the squad more confidence moving forward.

The Cavaliers were one of just three clubs to not execute a deadline trade, but that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. Cleveland is fourth in the Eastern Conference at 37-22, and the Wine and Gold have won their last six games and nine of their last 12.

Cleveland is currently second in the league in net rating, and first in defensive rating. The Cavaliers’ rim protection provided from Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen is a big reason for that stout defense, along with perimeter efforts from players such as Isaac Okoro, Dean Wade and Lamar Stevens.

Granted, offensively, a shooting boost would’ve been welcomed for the rotation, and it’s understandable that the Cavs and recent buyout target Danny Green were nearing on an agreement on a deal. He’s now reportedly with the team after the deal was finalized.

That said, the Cavs have their undisputed key options on that end in Garland, Mitchell and Mobley, and while Caris LeVert has had some inconsistencies, he has been a useful player for the bench, and provides added shot creation and playmaking.

LeVert is a player the Cavaliers hold in high regard, and do want to keep around past this season; we’ll have to see if he eventually is re-signed. To his credit, he has held up better on defense than many, including myself, could’ve foreseen coming into the 2022-23 campaign, too. And he’s been healthy, for the most part, which has made a difference.

To drive it home, though, this Wine and Gold squad is gelling at the right time, heading into the closing stretch of the regular season. Following their win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Friday night, this interaction postgame with Cavs sideline reporter Serena Winters resonated with me.

Sure, one could just chalk it up to young dudes clowning around, but one could just tell after the group remained together after the deadline, that they’re ready to roll.

Furthermore, on a night when they appeared to simply not have it for much of it, partly due to the late night they had in relation to their latest back-to-back, the Cavs found a way to win against the Chicago Bulls, and a fourth quarter surge got the job done. This reaction from J.B. Bickerstaff about the group collectively, and the mental toughness they exuded was another recent soundbite that jumped out involving the Cavaliers.

Plus, Koby Altman’s comments about the team not finding a deal to move the needle was telling, and the same applied regarding how he and the organization believe playoff experience is going to be invaluable for a young group.

The Cavaliers adding Green should help from an on and off-floor perspective as well, for what it’s worth, and fans shouldn’t discount that.

Next. Danny Green meets all three of the Cavaliers' greatest needs. dark

Looking onward, the Cavs valuing chemistry, the team getting healthy and the group finding ways to win has to have the group elated about what’s to come. And standing pat and not moving guys out might have just been an added confidence boost for the team after all.