Grading the trade
To facilitate a sign-and-trade and add Strus at a number above the Mid-Level Exception (starting at $12.4 million) the Cavaliers had to work out a sign-and-trade. The final deal sends out longtime Cavaliers wing Cedi Osman, who was the last remaining holdover from the LeBron James Finals teams, and Lamar Stevens.
Osman was beloved by the fan base, but his complete lack of an above-average NBA skill made him expendable. He should have value around the league if the San Antonio Spurs choose to move him again, as a wing without any big weaknesses, but it was time for Cleveland to upgrade on him.
Stevens is a fiery defender who was a key part of the Cavs’ defensive culture the past two seasons, but his complete lack of a 3-point shot made him unplayable in the playoffs. He played only nine garbage-time minutes in the playoffs last season.
Moving just two second-round picks to grease the deal is a very fair price, even if the loss of that 2026 Lakers second stings a bit; they could be very bad by then. Strus is a player who can step in as a starter on a low-end starter salary, and moving two players outside of the rotation and two seconds was a totally fair piece of business.