The biggest hole on the roster last season was the lack of a 3-and-D forward to start at small forward. Isaac Okoro could defend guards but was undersized to take on forwards and only shot when wide-open. Caris LeVert had more size but was a shaky shooter and a willing if overmatched defender. Both return as part of the solution for this season as well.
The biggest move of the summer was to address their need for a starting small forward, with Max Strus brought in on a four-year deal. He will certainly help the Cavs’ spacing but at 6’5″ he doesn’t have the size Cleveland may ultimately need to match up with players like Jayson Tatum and Jimmy Butler.
Dean Wade could step up and meet this need, depending on whether his shot returns after an offseason to rehab his shoulder injury. Starry-eyes fans hope Emoni Bates will grow into that role. As it stands, however, the most crucial type of role player for contenders to have is a 3-and-D forward, and the Cavs don’t have such a player to plug into the starting lineup.
Options to fill the hole: The Cavs did their best in free agency but the options were slim, so adding Strus ended up being the top move. The team will likely need to make a trade for a forward option, be that a low-cost move for a bench forward or a larger swing to secure a starter.