3 budget wing free agents Cleveland Cavaliers could sign

Jalen McDaniels, Philadelphia 76ers. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
Jalen McDaniels, Philadelphia 76ers. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) /
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After the Cleveland Cavaliers season ended, President of Basketball Operations Koby Altman expressed his belief in this group’s potential. Altman has been a patient executive, typically avoiding sudden and drastic reactions. His leadership has led the Cavaliers to their success, but there is more to do.

There will be changes this summer, but Altman’s faith in the current roster might hint that a complete overhaul is not in the gameplan. Additionally, with a severe lack of first-round draft picks going forward, it is unlikely any major earth shattering changes come this offseason, leaving the Cavaliers to search for free agents more so rather than exploring the trade market.

Droves of wings are entering free agency, including Khris Middleton, Harrison Barnes, and Jerami Grant. Many of these will command more than the Cavs have to offer, though.

In this scenario, the Cavs are probably looking not to spend every dime on a single addition. One roster improvement absolutely necessary in Cleveland is a 3-and-D wing. If the Cavs look for low risk, high reward options, then these three upcoming free agents could be targets to keep in mind as the postseason wraps up.

Budget Wing No. 1: Yuta Watanabe

In 16 minutes per game this past season, Yuta Watanabe of the Brooklyn Nets averaged 5.6 points and 2.4 rebounds with an effective field goal percentage of 62.1%. Watanabe’s 44.4% three-point percentage on 2.3 attempts stands out as a potential point of intrigue for Cleveland.

While he was not an unstoppable sharpshooter, the 6-foot 9 forward forces defenses to keep him in mind every possession.

A point of weakness in Watanabe’s game has been his speed and overall defensive impact, though. According to NBA.com’s tracking data, opponents shot 39.4% from beyond the arc when defended by Yuta Watanabe during the regular season. Under J.B. Bickerstaff’s defensive-minded schemes, then Watanabe may begin to develop a better presence on the court and become a positive defender.

Watanabe has the size but has yet to play a significant role on any roster. At 28 years old, Watanabe only has four years in the NBA. Assuming that Watanabe signs on a minimum deal, the Cavaliers would only stand to benefit by taking a flyer on him.

With size and good shooting, placing him on a team like Cleveland could open up his potential on defense and on the boards if he is willing to learn under Bickerstaff’s leadership.