The best trade prospect from every Eastern Conference team for Cavaliers

Jonathan Isaac, Orlando Magic. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Jonathan Isaac, Orlando Magic. Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images /
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Cleveland Cavaliers
Cameron Payne, Phoenix Suns and Raul Neto, Cleveland Cavaliers. Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images /

Milwaukee Bucks Trade Target: Cameron Payne, PG

After establishing himself as a solid backup guard with the Phoenix Suns, Cameron Payne has a whirlwind of an offseason.

Included in the blockbuster Bradley Beal trade, Payne was sent to the San Antonio Spurs who waived him shortly thereafter. Since then, Payne joined the Milwaukee Bucks as a backup behind the newest Milwaukee superstar Damian Lillard.

As a career 36.3 percent 3-point threat and reliable playmaker, Payne would give the Cavaliers a drastic improvement in their second-unit backcourt in the wake of Ricky Rubio’s sudden departure from professional basketball in order to focus on mental health and family matters. Though Rubio has stepped away from the Cavaliers, he is not considering retirement, per Chris Fedor. Upon his return, Payne and Rubio would complement one another and lead the bench squad together.

On a $2.8 million salary this season Payne is an easily affordable target for the Cavaliers who could make an immediate impact on the team.

Chicago Bulls Trade Target: Alex Caruso, PG

Following a tough opening night loss, the Chicago Bulls held a players-only meeting as they battle through NBA purgatory once again. With the status of the Bulls in limbo, the Cavaliers should monitor the availability of Chicago’s defensive mastermind, one-time NBA champion Alex Caruso.

Caruso would fulfill similar needs as Cameron Payne, but Caruso’s reputation as one of the best backcourt defenders in the league makes him a perfect trade prospect for a defensive-minded team such as the Cavaliers.

Last season, Caruso earned a spot on the NBA All-Defense Second Team. The 3-and-D guard seamlessly matches Cleveland’s identity. His experience alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis on the 2020 Championship Los Angeles Lakers would be invaluable for the Cavs’ championship aspirations.

Whether Caruso leads the second unit or steps into the starting rotation due to injury, he would be an instant favorite among the Cleveland faithful for his resilient dynamism and long-range capabilities.

Indiana Pacers Trade Target: Jalen Smith, PF/C

In a vacuum, trading for Myles Turner of the Indiana Pacers would be an ideal option, but the Pacers’ recent growth as a team suggests an intention to maintain their current core of Tyrese Haliburton and Turner.

Instead, the Cavaliers should consider Jalen Smith as a backup big man behind Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen. Cleveland’s free agent additions were mainly centered around the wing and forward positions, leaving the frontcourt rotation still in question. The Cavs acquired Damian Jones and brought member of the 2016 Finals Cavaliers Tristan Thompson back to the Land. Though Cleveland added two other centers to the ranks, neither big is likely going to have a major impact on winning if they need to take on a big role.

Jalen Smith, a 23-year-old workhorse, could solidify the Cavaliers’ backup big spot with his strength and consistent production. In his first three seasons in the NBA, Smith struggled to find a real role for the Phoenix Suns and eventually was traded to the Indiana Pacers where he has restored his value in the league.

Through his first full season with the Pacers, Smith averaged 9.4 points, 5.8 rebounds and 0.9 blocks per game. Smith would help answer the Cavaliers’ questions regarding rebounding, an aspect of the game that sorely devastated them in the playoffs. With Smith off the bench, Cleveland would be able to compete for each rebound and negate second chances for opponents.

Detroit Pistons Trade Target: Bojan Bogdanovic, SF

It goes without saying that Bojan Bogdanovic will once again have his name circulated throughout the trade sphere as one of the best veteran 3-and-D wings in the Association. Last season, Bogdanovic was at the top of many target lists, but the Detroit Pistons chose to retain the veteran leader and see if they were ready to compete for the postseason.

Although Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey have potential as a backcourt duo, the championship window is still not open for the Pistons. At 34 years old, the time for Bogdanovic to contribute to a contender is quickly becoming now or never. While the Cavaliers are not at the top of the NBA in terms of title favorites, adding Bogdanovic to the rotation could be the missing puzzle piece.

The next cluster of teams to consider for the Cavaliers’ trade options is the Atlantic Division.