3 free agents Cavaliers must resist overpaying this summer

Caris LeVert, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by David Richard-USA TODAY Sports)
Caris LeVert, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by David Richard-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Free agency is a difficult game to play. A team like the Cleveland Cavaliers has to entice players to agree to move their lives to Ohio, but without overpaying them to harm their team-building in the future, all while 29 other teams are trying to entice but not overpay all at the same time. Who to pursue? How much to pay them? It’s a wild maelstrom of business.

One of the reasons the Cavaliers have not been huge players in free agency in recent years has been that they overpaid players in previous seasons, including a massive contract extension for Kevin Love that he failed to live up to in any of its four seasons.

This team needs to upgrade its roster this summer, but they need to do so without hamstringing their ability to sustain a competitive roster around their young core. With that in mind, here are three free agents they need to be careful not to overpay this summer, one from their own team and two from the open market.

Free Agent No. 1: Caris LeVert, Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cavaliers already overpaid for Caris LeVert once, trading two picks to bring him in at the 2022 NBA Trade Deadline. Without beating a dead horse, LeVert’s strengths and weaknesses make him an incredibly poor fit for this roster. To his credit he has bought into his role and played hard, but that doesn’t suddenly make him a great shooter or lockdown defender on the wing.

The Cavs may bring him back just to “retain the asset” so they don’t lose LeVert for nothing, and then look to trade him sometime in the next year. If so, they need to make sure not to overpay him and make him difficult to trade. If they are re-signing him because they believe in his long-term fit…well, then they need to keep his contract down so they can trade him when they come to their senses.

LeVert can score and handle the basketball, and that type of player is valuable around the league. If he gets a substantial offer from another team, the Cavaliers should let him walk before they get into a bidding war.