Trading for Kyle Kuzma is the perfect fit for the Cavaliers
The Cavaliers were embarrassed in the 2023 Playoffs in part due to their lack of experience. The perfect partner with Mobley would not only have Playoff experience but is an NBA champion.
Former Los Angeles Laker and current Washington Wizard Kyle Kuzma would thrive under the Cavaliers’ system.
The Wizards already have Daniel Gafford, a rising talent at center, on their roster. To complete this deal, a third team would get involved. That team? The Dallas Mavericks. Other than the Pelicans, Dallas was the team most interested in pursuing Allen in trade talks before the NBA Draft. They have seemingly not ended their search yet, meaning Allen may still be a player on their target board.
After signing a new contract with the Wizards, Kuzma will be ineligible for trade until Jan 15, 2024. This still fits in the timeline the Cavaliers would have for the trade, even giving them until after the NBA In-Season Tournament as a test of the team’s competitive strength.
What does this trade look like?
In this deal, the Cavaliers acquire both Kuzma and Tim Hardaway, Jr., another player Cleveland reportedly has shown interest in over the last year. As mentioned above, the Mavericks have pursued a Jarrett Allen trade in the recent past, and bringing in Rubio and Okoro as well only sweetens the deal.
Is this too insane for the Cavaliers to do it? Neither Kuzma nor Hardaway, Jr. are on cheap or expiring deals. If the Cavaliers lose Rubio, they would have to trust Ty Jerome to carry the bulk of backup guard minutes. Can they trust him?
The short answer to all of these is yes. The trade is worth it for Cleveland. Trading for a borderline All-Star in Kuzma who has already won the Finals and another floor-spacing wing catapults the Cavaliers into the top of the East. Losing Dean Wade and Okoro is not nothing after giving up Allen, but guaranteeing Kuzma in Cleveland for the next four seasons is an opportunity that only a madman would dislike.
Last year, Kuzma scored 21.2 points, rebounded 7.2 misses, and assisted 3.7 times each game. His shooting splits took a slight dip from previous seasons, but with the improved floor spacing in Cleveland, his chances to regain his form would be immense.
The 2017 first-round pick is a tenacious competitor and expressed a desire to compete for another ring prior to this summer. With Mobley, Darius Garland, and Donovan Mitchell, that wish would come true.
Although the Wizards have Jordan Poole and a decent young core, their roster is almost certain to end their season outside of the postseason. Cashing in on their talent now gives them a bright future ahead. They traded Kristaps Porzingis, suggesting a full rebuild is in the near future.
While the Mavericks have been hesitant to surrender Josh Green in any trades, their return is worth the price of admission. The youth, defensive identity and veteran presence give the Mavericks a chance at serious Playoff contention as the Western Conference continues to stack up with talent.
Perhaps none of these trades materialize. If so, they would certainly look different in many ways from these proposals. But, if the Cavaliers are serious about focusing their offense around Evan Mobley at the five with shooters on the perimeter, each of these trades would be ideal starting points for Cleveland’s high aspirations.