Swapping Cavaliers signings for better free agents at same money

Mo Bamba, Orlando Magic. Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images
Mo Bamba, Orlando Magic. Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images /
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Cleveland Cavaliers
Keita Bates-Diop, San Antonio Spurs. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images /

Free Agent Swap No. 2: Keita Bates-Diop for Ty Jerome

The Cavaliers took advantage of the limitations on the Golden State Warriors and signed away backup point guard Ty Jerome. While far from a perfect player, Jerome’s combination of shooting, playmaking and reasonable defense would have been hard to find elsewhere on the open market for a minimum deal. If the Cavs wanted a point guard for cheap, Jerome may have been their best bet.

What if they had gone in a different direction, perhaps trusting in Ricky Rubio to rebound and using a two-way slot on someone like Sharife Cooper for depth? In that scenario, the Cavaliers could have added a player at another position, and Keita Bates-Diop should have been a top target for them.

The 27-year-old forward also came into the league in the 2018 NBA Draft, but in contrast to someone like Mo Bamba still holding untapped potential, “KBD” has fought to remain in the league and improved as a shooter and defender to carve out a sustained NBA career.

Bates-Diop shot 39.4 percent from 3-point range last season for the San Antonio Spurs, adding offensive force to his prodigious defensive game. Bates-Diop has the size and strength to defend multiple frontcourt positions, and if the team has soured on Dean Wade, KBD would be a natural replacement for him in the rotation.