Though the NBA season has only just started, trade season has never ended. The Cleveland Cavaliers made critical improvements this offseason in free agency, but a well-crafted trade could bolster their chances in the new season even further.
During the summer, their first and foremost target was 3-point shooting and forward depth. After acquiring Max Strus from the Miami Heat in a sign-and-trade, the Cavs have entrusted Strus as the fifth starter for his offensive versatility, athleticism and playoff experience. Niang has cultivated a reputation as a true sharpshooter, shooting 40 percent from 3-point range throughout his career.
These additions and changes signify a shift in team mentality, expanding their scoring options and overhauling their sluggish offensive pacing from the year prior. Head coach J.B. Bickerstaff suggested a focus on transforming the Cavaliers into a dynamic offense, citing Strus’ constant movement and unique skillset as a driving factor in this metamorphosis.
If Cleveland is serious in their motivations to move toward another championship for the franchise, they will likely find themselves active on the trade market by the 2024 deadline.
The best trade options will probably be focused on rounding out the edges with a strong nucleus already present in Darius Garland, Donovan Mitchell, Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen; yet, if the Cavaliers struggle to find footing or answers to their lingering questions, they may be ready for a larger impact on the trade scene.
There are a number of paths the Cavaliers can follow to improve their roster once they get a full view of where they sit in the East. Starting in Cleveland’s own Eastern Conference, this is the first of a two-part article identifying the best trade prospect from each of Cleveland’s 29 rivals across the Association.
Not all targets are blue-chip players, but instead, we will be focusing on a realistic, viable but impactful prospect on each team.