Currently, Isaac Okoro and Max Strus will be the two players with the most playtime at the three spot, but their undersized build could lead to another problem for the Cavaliers. Trading for another small forward would need to address this. Diminishing a player’s value down only to their height is usually poor practice, but Cleveland’s undersized backcourt leads to a serious need to build out a tall roster around them as much as possible.
If the Washington Wizards continue their roster fire sale into this next season, trading for sharpshooter Corey Kispert could greatly improve the Cavaliers at small forward. Joining the league after four seasons at Gonzaga, Kispert is approaching his third season at 24 years old. In his two years with the Wizards, he has averaged 9.6 points and knocked down 39.1 percent of his 4.7 3-point attempts.
Standing at 6-foot 7-inches, Kispert gives Cleveland a tall forward who can shoot from deep and provide immediate impact for the Cavs. Trading for a proven player such as Kispert is not as simple as a couple of second-round picks and filler contracts. To get Kispert, the Cavs would likely need to include Isaac Okoro and other players. Kispert would ideally give the Cavaliers a lethal threat on the perimeter every night, but they would need to consider the cost.
Beating the Royce O’Neale drum may be growing old in Cleveland, but the skillset he brings to the table and the history of interest from the Cavaliers cannot be overstated. Secondly, the Cavs did not hesitate to value a player’s connections to Donovan Mitchell in their deals this summer. Georges Niang was Mitchell’s teammate in Utah, and Ty Jerome was a grade school AAU teammate of his. Royce O’Neale was also a member of the Mitchell-led Jazz and has kept close ties to the All-NBA guard ever since.
O’Neale is a prototypical 3-and-D wing and has the size to handle taller wings, standing at 6-foot 6 inches and weighing 226 pounds. In his last two seasons, O’Neale sank 38.9 percent of his 4.75 3-point attempts per game. O’Neale’s volume and accuracy make it hard to imagine a world where his presence on the Cavaliers is not an instant match. Defensively, O’Neale is no slouch. Where Max Strus’ biggest flaw is his inconsistency on defense, O’Neale’s is not. Over his career, the 30-year-old veteran has a 110 defensive rating and recorded a .102 defensive win share last season, per NBA.com.
Thus far, all prospects are focused on high-end role players. Outside of the small forward position, none of the names mentioned would be in contention for the starting lineup. For the power forward position, the Cavaliers could be looking for a major shift.