These 2 free agents could fill Lamar Stevens’ former role for Cavaliers

Derrick Jones Jr., Chicago Bulls. (Photo by Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports)
Derrick Jones Jr., Chicago Bulls. (Photo by Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Cleveland Cavaliers
Derrick Jones Jr., Chicago Bulls. (Photo by Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports) /

Possible Stevens Replacement No. 2: Derrick Jones Jr.

The other candidate Cleveland could pursue to replace Stevens could be Derrick Jones Jr., who has been a suggested target in the recent past it seems.

Jones is not a player who teams are going to go to as a key offensive option, either, but even with him on the slim side, which could lead to some injury concerns, his mentality, effort and Green-esque activity on defense make him an attractive target.

The 6-foot-6 Jones is a multi-positional defender who could Cleveland could feature at the 3 or 4 spots for stretches for his work on the less glamorous end of the floor, where he can smother perimeter ball handlers, and use his length to frustrate forwards. He has a 7-foot wingspan, which comes in handy both on and off-ball on defense.

Jones has had a healthy 1.3 blocks and 1.2 steals per-36 minutes over the course of his seven NBA seasons, and that clip was 1.5 blocks and 1.2 steals per-36 minutes last season with Chicago. Similarly to Green, Jones’ anticipation and defensive playmaking would be a welcomed addition to Cleveland.

Jones, who has had 6.3 points per contest in his NBA tenure, is again not a notable shooter, on offense, but he’s an adept cutter, and is a quality offensive rebounder as well. His career offensive rebounding rate has been 7.2 percent, and with him being an elite finisher at the basket, that’s led to him finding his way to impact games on that end for stretches, too, despite being a 30.4 percent three-point shooter lifetime.

Now, Jones did decline his roughly $3.4 million player option for the 2023-24 season, but at this stage, he might eventually have to accept a minimum deal elsewhere, and maybe on an emerging contender in the Cavs, he’d buy in to winning as a role piece.

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For the Cavaliers, while Stevens was not a big piece in recent seasons, he did play solid defense and gave the team energy. And the two former Bulls we mentioned here could maybe be sensible replacements for him.