5. Traded for Damian Jones
Used minimum exception to trade for Damian Jones
Another second-tier need for the Cavaliers this season was at backup center. Robin Lopez did fine work filling up space behind Jarrett Allen, but with Isaiah Mobley waiting in the wings it seemed more likely that Cleveland would look for a different kind of big man rather than a traditional drop center like Lopez.
They took that swing by trading for Utah Jazz center Damian Jones, who has traveled around the league over the past few seasons looking for a long-term home. Jones is ostensibly a stretch-big, hitting 38.3 percent of his career long-balls, but he barely takes them. In fact, he barely does anything at all on offense.
Jones is a solid defender, moving his feet well and altering shots without racking up a ton of blocks. He has consistently had a positive defensive impact at each of his stops over the past few years, even if his poor offensive game makes him a questionable part of any team’s rotation.
Perhaps Jones has a career year with Cleveland, but more likely there were a number of better options available on the free-agent market. Mo Bamba signed a minimum contract to have to battle two other centers for minutes just to back up Joel Embiid. Dario Saric signed for the minimum in Golden State. Christian Wood, Omer Yursteven, Bismack Biyombo and Willy Hernangomez are all still available as well.
Spending a roster spot on Jones is fine, but there seem to have been a number of better options out there.