3 free agents the Cleveland Cavaliers should consider signing this summer

Harrison Barnes, Sacramento Kings. Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images
Harrison Barnes, Sacramento Kings. Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images /
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While the Cleveland Cavaliers decided not to participate in the 2023 NBA trade deadline, in order to hoist the Larry O’Brien trophy again Cleveland will likely need to be active in free agency this summer in order to bolster their Finals contention.

Fewer than two weeks ago, it was assumed that Cleveland would ultimately re-sign both Caris LeVert and Kevin Love; however, with Love’s recent buyout, the only re-signing the Cavaliers will need to worry about is Ohio native LeVert. In that scenario, the Cavaliers will not have much more than the Mid-Level Exception (MLE) available to offer their targets. The most attractive free agents for Cleveland such as Kyle Kuzma or Rui Hachimura will almost definitely be nothing more than a pipe dream for this reason.

Taking a look at possible free agent options, the Cavaliers could have three realistic options that could meet the non-taxpayer MLE. We will take a look at these choices, discuss their possible fit on Cleveland’s roster and consider their impact on the Cavs’ Finals hopes.

No. 1: Harrison Barnes

Sacramento’s Harrison Barnes has been in trade rumors for several years now, but nothing has come to fruition. With the Kings’ success this season, it should be expected that they will want to retain Barnes on their roster, and they have the Bird Rights. Therefore, Barnes is an improbable option, but at 6-foot-8 inches tall, Barnes is the ideal archetype 3-and-D wing from who the Cavaliers would significantly benefit.

Further, the fit for Barnes is remarkable. Considering Cleveland’s recent addition of Danny Green, Barnes appears to be a more complete version of what Green is for Cleveland. Bringing veteran leadership, size, and shooting, Harrison Barnes fills a majority of the holes currently exploited by opposing teams against the Cavaliers.

So far this season, Harrison Barnes has averaged 15 points on 47.2% shooting, including 37.5% from behind the arc. If Harrison Barnes is interested in an expected starting role on a contending team, then a deduction in pay might be alluring enough to depart from Sacramento.

Overall, while Harrison Barnes is a dream fit on this Cleveland roster, Sacramento’s long awaited resurgence toward the NBA Playoffs means they will be hard pressed to watch Barnes leave for nothing.