Over the weekend, the Cleveland Cavaliers acquired sharpshooter Max Strus via sign-and-trade from the Miami Heat, in what was a three-team deal that included the San Antonio Spurs, too. In the deal, Cleveland would send Cedi Osman, Lamar Stevens and a future second-round pick to San Antonio, and a future second-round pick to Miami.
Strus would receive a four-year, $63 million deal from the Cavaliers, and he was Cleveland’s biggest free agency signing, and in the process, should be a key piece for the Wine and Gold moving forward.
Strus had long been a rumored top free agency target for the Cavaliers, and his multifaceted shooting should give Cleveland quite the off-ball weapon to utilize in a variety of ways. With what he provides and with his threat as a flamethrower, he should make several Cavs players better in his time on the floor with them.
It was bittersweet to see the likes of Osman and Stevens having to be shipped out by the Cavaliers in order to execute the Strus signing, though.
Both guys did have their flaws, sure, but over the course of their tenure with Cleveland, both players did make their mark in their own rights.
Osman, who spent six seasons with the Cavaliers, and Stevens, who spent three, both were unheralded players when they were initially brought in the organization. Each of those players filled roles for the Cavs in due time, and they were each great culture pieces, too. Stevens’ was the driving force behind the Cavs’ Junkyard Dog Chain to celebrate wins, and his grit and toughness was never taken for granted.
Osman, in particular, was a player who was tough to see go, though. He had his ups and downs, but overall, had a solid career with Cleveland, and the joy he played with endeared him to so many Cavaliers fans.
Osman carved out a nice career with the Cavs, and his enthusiasm was his trademark.
Osman was originally the 31st pick by the Cavaliers in 2015, in which he was picked up in a draft night trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves, and would spend two seasons still playing overseas before he first was with Cleveland in the 2017-18 campaign.
Then, he did play in 61 games, but his opportunities were scarce in LeBron James’ last season of his second stint with the Cavaliers. From there, then on, Osman’s chances would come.
He started for the most part for Cleveland over the next two seasons, before ultimately being moved to primarily a bench role for the ensuing three seasons.
Osman had inconsistencies over his time with the Wine and Gold off the bench in that time, and the same went for his play as a starter prior to that, but as he settled in more to a bench role, he did give Cleveland a spark on plenty of occasions.
The first year he was coming off the bench as a rotational regular, he had his struggles. He shot just 30.6 percent from three, and throughout that season, he appeared out of his sorts.
In the two seasons to come, however, despite some strange minutes variance for him at times, Osman much better.
He shot 37.2 percent from three-point range during the regular season in 2022-23, and in the year prior, hit 35.7 percent of his deep ball attempts, which amounted to 5.4 per game. The volume for Osman during this now-past regular season decreased to 4.1 deep attempts per outing, and his minutes-share declined to 20.1, but he would again give Cleveland a spark in a number of games throughout the year.
Several times in the past two seasons, Osman’s efforts as a shooter and transition run-out target ignited “Cavavalanches,” as they’ve been properly dubbed by the team and fans. Those were so fun to watch, and it was always cool to see guys like Darius Garland, Donovan Mitchell and others overjoyed for Osman in the process, too.
That’s part of the reason why Cleveland’s deal for Strus was bittersweet. Osman was so likeable, and he did provide energy for the Cavaliers. After all, somewhat silently, he’s fifth all-time in Cavaliers history in three-pointers made.
Granted, of course, Osman, like all rotational players and role guys, had his flaws. Defensively, he is still somewhat limited on the perimeter in on-ball situations, and he was fairly streaky as a shooter. He didn’t have it going much in the playoffs in Cleveland’s first-round loss to the New York Knicks, and his ups and downs ultimately played into him being moved, and he was often involved in trade rumors prior to that.
To reiterate, though, he did carve out a solid career, spanning six seasons with the Cavaliers, and his energy and the joy he played with led to him being beloved by so many.
After their move for Strus was finalized, it was good to see the Cavs show their appreciation for Osman, and fittingly, as the exemplary team-first guy he’s always been, Cedi displayed his gratitude in response.
The Macedonian native and Turkish National Team stud definitely made his mark in Cleveland, and his flow, one of a kind smile and charismatic personality made him so easy to root for. The First Cedi was quite the spark plug, and he was one of the guys who made it through a tough rebuild, and would eventually get his true taste of meaningful run in the playoffs.
We wish him the best of luck with the Spurs. He’ll be on an expiring deal, however, and maybe, just maybe, this won’t be the last of Osman with the Cavs.
It’ll never truly be good bye, Cedi, and from all of us here at KJG, thank you.