4 Cleveland Cavaliers who need to bounce back next season

Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images) /
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It might feel surprising, but the overall NBA season is almost over. The Denver Nuggets have secured their first NBA Finals, set to face off either the Miami Heat or the Boston Celtics starting June 1. NBA free agency negotiations will open on June 30, hardly a month away. While official free agency does not begin until July 6, teams can begin negotiation a week prior.

The offseason for the Cleveland Cavaliers feels much longer with a short run in the postseason. At the end of the day, there is a limit to the excuses the Cavs have for their unfortunate end. Even with their poor round against the New York Knicks, this season was a huge leap forward for the Cavs.

In order to push closer to greatness next season, these Cavaliers will absolutely need to bounce back after their disappointing end to the season (assuming each of these players returns come October’s opening game).

No. 4: Dean Wade

In the 2022-2023 regular season, former G-League forward Dean Wade seemed to be a hidden treasure or a secret weapon for the Cavs in their search for size at the wing position. In September, Wade agreed to a 3-year extension worth $18.5 million (with $16.5 million guaranteed). It was clear that the Cavaliers believed Wade would be an important piece for the future of the franchise as a spot-up shooting forward who had the size at 6-foot 9 to defend taller opponents.

Further cementing Cleveland’s hope in Dean Wade, it was no secret that opening up more minutes for Wade played a substantial role in the eventual Kevin Love buyout.

Now, Kevin Love is one game away from reaching the NBA Finals with the Miami Heat as a starter. On the other end, Dean Wade played a total of 11 minutes in the NBA Playoffs. Wade ended his regular season shooting a dismal 26.5% from three after Kevin Love’s buyout.

With Wade’s disappointing end, his name is already floating around in plenty of trade rumors it seems as a possible candidate to be dealt. If he comes back to Cleveland, he needs to remind the fans why he earned that extension that everybody celebrated at the time.

Some of Wade’s struggles last year can be attributed to injury, as he only played 44 games in the year. His inconsistency in minutes and availability might have hurt his confidence. Now, the Cavs are looking to improve their wing depth and possibly push Wade further down in Bickerstaff’s rotation. To earn a constant spot on the court, Wade has to keep his shooting above league average and continue to provide valuable defense.