Was trading Cedi Osman the wrong move by the Cleveland Cavaliers?

Cedi Osman, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports)
Cedi Osman, Cleveland Cavaliers. (Photo by Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports) /

Up until July 1, Cedi Osman was the longest-tenured player on the Cleveland Cavaliers. Drafted in 2015 with the 31st overall pick, and then subsequently traded to Cleveland with another second-round pick for Tyus Jones, Osman was a fan favorite instantly when he came to Cleveland.

Even though he was drafted, he played overseas, and didn’t come to play for the Cavs until the 2017-18 season, where he played 61 games, but only played 11.0 minutes per game. His numbers weren’t amazing, and that was okay. Osman was still a young player, and the Cavaliers were trying to compete for a championship with LeBron James.

However, James left that summer, which left the small forward position wide open, and Osman took that spot. Ever since then, Osman has been a successful player. He has hit the fifth-most triples in Cavs history. He has the 19th-most games played for the Cavaliers at 404 total games. He has the 25th-most points for a Cavalier at 3,938. Yes, Osman isn’t a superstar, but he is a fan favorite and was a really solid player for the Cavs for his six-year career.

Eventually, though, he was moved in a sign-and-trade, and is now on the San Antonio Spurs. Max Strus was a big target for the Cavaliers, and eventually, they got him in the deal from the Miami Heat. Sadly, Cleveland had to ship out Osman, alongside Lamar Stevens, another fan favorite in Cleveland, and two future second-round picks.

That raises the question, was the trade to get Strus worth getting rid of Osman? It’s hard to say, as we have never seen Strus play a single minute for the Cavaliers, and we are not sure what Osman’s role would’ve been if he stayed here in Cleveland for the next season.

Was trading Osman the wrong move by the Cavaliers?

Let’s look at some stats real quick. Osman’s career averages are 9.7 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per night. Also, he’s an adequate career 35.3 percent three-point shooter, but objectively, Osman’s role has reduced in Cleveland year by year since his rookie season and he has been streaky, at least to some extent.

Osman’s not the greatest defender, however, he is a decent playmaker, and nice role player to have for bench minutes. Last regular season, for the entire NBA, Osman had the third best plus-minus when it came to bench players, only behind New York’s Immanuel Quickley and Oklahoma City’s Isaiah Joe. Osman’s plus-minus last year was plus-207, and he wasn’t even the Cavaliers’ sixth man primarily. This just shows how much of an impact Osman has on the game.

Osman also had his best offensive rating last season by far, at a 115.4 rating. He’s always been a good offensive player, but that stat just proves that he had a great year last year.

Osman’s arguably a better defender than Strus, and he’s a better playmaker and rebounder, as well. Osman is 6-foot-7, while Strus is 6-foot-5. Osman’s only around a year older than Strus, so it is not like Osman’s getting up there in age. He’s only 28 years old, and won’t be 30 until 2025. Osman is still in his prime.

Maybe trading Dean Wade instead of Osman would’ve been better, as Georges Niang is going to be the backup power forward, so Wade might not get a lot of playing time. Maybe San Antonio did not want Wade, and wanted Osman more, which makes sense. Osman’s contract is expiring as well, and Wade’s isn’t.

All in all, Osman is a fine NBA player, and hopefully when he returns to Cleveland to face off against the Cavaliers, the team will have a tribute video for him. Will the Cavs regret trading Cedi? It’s tough to say as it just happened, but it wouldn’t be so surprising to see Osman come back to Cleveland next offseason.

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As of now, though, the Cavs have to be satisfied with their move. If the move to deal Osman does lead to Strus having a big impact the team seems to believe he’ll have, it was worth it. Whether or not Osman potentially comes back to Cleveland at some point, the Cavaliers clearly think they did what they had to do, and cashed in on an expiring trade chip.