The Golden State Warriors have been at a crossroads of an aging legacy and a growing young core for a few years now, and Moses Moody has found himself as the odd-man-out at times. With Jonathan Kuminga and Andrew Wiggins ahead of Moody in the Warriors’ rotation, his prototypical 3-and-D wing skillset is rarely fully recognized.
Even with Cleveland’s improved wing depth following this summer, adding Moody to the mix would only bolster the Cavs’ floor spacing further. Moody is a young athlete with deep playoff experience and a reliable 36.4 percent shot from range. When the Warriors call upon Moody, he competes on both ends and gives Golden State a valuable edge in many close matchups. If Moody is ready to take the next step in his development, he would be able to earn significant minutes in Cleveland’s rotation fast.
Moody can play either wing spot as a forward or guard, making him a perfect pair next to Isaac Okoro and Caris LeVert in the second unit, allowing Cleveland’s other two multi-talented wings a chance to utilize their versatility in the lineup composition.
After joining the Los Angeles Lakers late last season, Rui Hachimura quickly blossomed as one of the Lakers’ best role players, putting his effort into making the extra effort and improving his scoring versatility.
In Los Angeles’ Western Conference Finals run last season, Hachimura’s scorching hot 48.7 percent 3-point shooting gave the Lakers a massive boost in plenty of close series. This season, his shooting has fallen to 33.3 percent thus far, but his willingness to shoot forces defenses to keep their focus on Hachimura. Adding Hachimura to the Cavaliers roster would put him in a Dean Wade-like role, though he would likely earn more minutes off the bat.
With his assumed value in Los Angeles, acquiring Hachimura would not be an easy trade, but his talents and mindset would fit seamlessly with the Cavs at the right price.
Over the past few seasons, the LA Clippers seemed to have the deepest wing rotation in the Association. With the combination of the James Harden trade and an aging roster, their depth has dwindled slightly. Terance Mann has become nearly untouchable (subscription required), dating back to last season it’s seemed, even for Harden, so he is a wildly unrealistic target for Cleveland. Instead, veteran wing Norman Powell could be a low-cost veteran leader with some useful skills at the end of the rotation.
As a member of the 2019 Toronto Raptors Finals team, the former champion would offer the Cavs a great insight into team chemistry and mentality in the postseason. During that Finals run, Powell played 15.9 minutes on average in 23 games, giving Toronto a reliable bench shooter with solid defense. With the Clippers, Powell continually provides a trustworthy second unit wing, making him an ideal veteran target for the young Cavaliers.
Yuta Watanabe has never been a big name in the NBA, but the 29-year-old forward is worth his pricetag, signing a $2.3 million contract with a player option in the next offseason with the Phoenix Suns.
With the Suns, Watanabe has joined his fourth NBA team in six seasons and his second team led by superstar Kevin Durant. Watanabe has mostly been a low-usage player but has earned 20 minutes per game over the first seven games of the 2023-24 NBA season. In that time, he has scored 6.1 points and snagged 3.1 rebounds. His numbers are not dazzling by any means, but Watanabe is a team-first player worth a trade discussion once he is available for trade in December.
Given Cleveland’s focus on forward depth, adding proven talents such as Trey Lyles and Chris Duarte from the Sacramento Kings would be a smart move if the Cavaliers front office feels a need to make some focused changes by the deadline.
The Kings are an alluring trade partner, given their offense-first playstyle. In the regular season, their high energy pushed them to a top seed in the West, but they were quickly exposed for poor defense by the Golden State Warriors in round one. Lyles and Duarte are solid defenders that could fit in Cleveland’s system. Their offense, though, would undoubtedly add another spark to the Cavs.
For the Kings, a deal with the defensive Cleveland Cavaliers could help cover their biggest flaw without losing any core pieces. While neither team would look for a major shakeup in a transaction with one another, adding Lyles and/or Duarte to the ranks would be a major step up off the bench.