One of these roster cut candidates could fill Cavs last spot

Khem Birch and Scottie Barnes, Toronto Raptors. Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images
Khem Birch and Scottie Barnes, Toronto Raptors. Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images /
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Cleveland Cavaliers
Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images /

No. 3: Ishmail Wainwright

The Phoenix Suns are in a very different place from the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder, two teams who loaded up their roster taking on money from other teams, using their cap space to gain future assets. The Suns, by contrast, are well above the second tax apron and have a full roster because they went bargain-shopping in free agency with a large shopping cart then made a 2-for-3 deal just before training camp, ending up with 17 players on the roster.

Keon Johnson was presumably a salary throw-in as a part of the Deandre Ayton trade, and the Suns will almost certainly cut the athletic forward who hasn’t added the necessary skill to be an NBA rotation player. The other cut candidate is not as obvious, but Ish Wainright is the likely frontrunner on a team loaded with other wings, from Devin Booker down to Damion Lee.

The third-year player was undrafted coming out of Baylor and latched on with the Toronto Raptors for his first training camp, but was himself cut before the season began. The Phoenix Suns stepped in and scooped the 6’6″ wing up, developing him over the past two seasons and elevating him to a full roster spot late in the season last year.

Wainright has work to do to become a true 3-and-D wing, but he has the ability lurking within. He is a good defender with length on the perimeter, and he has quick hands and a nose for the ball when rebounding. The offense is the question mark, but if the shot comes around he would be an ideal fit for the Cavs’ bench replacing the Isaac Okoro role. That would make Wainright an intriguing option to fill one of Cleveland’s two-way spots if the team elevates one of the three players they currently have.

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None of these cut candidates would revolutionize the Cavaliers’ roster, but that’s why they’ll potentially be available. Each offers some amount of upside to a signing, however, and are worth at least a look should they come available.