The Portland Trail Blazers signed Jerami Grant to a four-year, $160 million contract in hopes that all-time franchise star Damian Lillard would want to stay. After Lillard’s trade request and eventual move to the Milwaukee Bucks, Grant’s future on a now rebuilding team looms over him and the franchise.
This season, Grant is owed $27.6 million. The Cavaliers would have to be certain they see him as a long-term core piece. Since the 2018-19 season, Grant has averaged 17 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1 block per game with a 46/37/80 shooting splits. Chasing Grant would most likely only be an option if Cleveland wants to separate Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen.
Trading Allen for Grant gives Mobley another experienced frontcourt partner who can stretch the floor and help Mobley grow as a post playmaker and scorer. Allen and Mobley are a strong defensive pair, and Mobley has a long way to grow as the sole big man on a championship team. This year might not be the year the Cavs want Grant, then. But, by the time Grant’s contract is over, it is not ridiculous to think he may be in the wine and gold.
Following a similar line of thought as Jerami Grant as a target, the newest Utah Jazz power forward John Collins would be an interesting addition to the Cavaliers.
After a tumultuous handful of a season with the Atlanta Hawks, Collins desperately yearned for a chance to grow his game again and prove his value across the league. The Utah Jazz acquired Collins for a shockingly low trade, only sending over salary filler and second-round draft pick for the exciting young forward.
Over his career, Collins has averaged 15.8 points and 8.5 rebounds. From deep, he has a 35.6 3-point percentage over his seven seasons in the NBA. Not only can Collins add shooting, he is a relentless athlete who can crash the boards and finish a fastbreak in thunderous fashion.
Once again, Collins would be a trade target best suited for the Cavs if they plan to shake up their starting frontcourt. In time, Collins could be an unforgettable player in Cleveland with his potential fit in the Cavaliers culture. The 6-foot-9 forward is a multifaceted talent with something to prove. Not only would Collins have a chance to make a major impact in Cleveland on both ends of the court, he could do so in a large role on a contending team. In theory, Collins and the Cavaliers would be a perfect match.
After winning the franchise’s first NBA Finals, the Denver Nuggets have started their 2023-24 campaign looking just as good as they did in June. Even with the loss of Bruce Brown in free agency, the Nuggets will probably not feel any need to make substantial changes to their roster this season, given their preexisting talented lineup. Young big man Zeke Nnaji, though, has yet to secure a real role in the nightly rotation, making him an ideal option for the Cavaliers to add to their second unit frontcourt.
Nnaji can play either the power forward or center position and is arguably already at 23 years old better than Cleveland’s Damian Jones. Jones has looked out of sorts with the Cavaliers, already falling behind Tristan Thompson in the rotation.
Though Thompson has exceeded expectations upon his return with the Cavs, injecting a young big into the rotation could help Thompson and Allen stay fresh throughout the rough midseason crawl. The Cavaliers’ best option for bench depth could be trading Jones and future second-round picks for Nnaji, giving the Nuggets value for a player who they do not seem to have in their long-term plans.
Right now, Caris LeVert and Donovan Mitchell are Cleveland’s go-to choices at point guard when Darius Garland heads to the bench. Both players are commendable playmakers for the most part, but finding a fuller backup point guard would be invaluable by the playoffs. Ty Jerome has filled those minutes since joining the team, but Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Tre Mann might be a better match for the job.
Mann is only 22 years old, and the Thunder do not typically trade their young players. This season, however, Mann’s minutes per game have dropped to just four after averaging 17.7 just one year earlier. Mann is valued by the Thunder much less than he might deserve, given Oklahoma City’s crowded roster. This offseason, the Thunder were forced to waive and trade a number of worthy players in order to reach the NBA’s roster limits. It has made it difficult for players to emerge into the nightly gameplan, meaning Mann could be available as another option for the Cavaliers’ backup backcourt.
Last but not certainly least, the Cleveland Cavaliers should target a free agent they missed out on this summer. Minnesota Timberwolves secondary center Naz Reid was the best center in the free agent pool, and the Cavaliers had reported interest in the stretch big.
This offseason, Reid chose to return to Minnesota on a three-year, $41.9 million contract. For the 2023-24 season, Reid will earn $12.9 million, and Minnesota’s overflowing options at the post positions might make the Timberwolves willing to take trade calls for the emerging talented big.
Reid has shot 34.9 percent from deep in his Minnesota tenure, coupling it with 4.4 rebounds in 17.7 minutes per game. With the Cavaliers, Reid would be a low-cost trade target with major potential as either a bench option or a significant starter (once more, if the Cavaliers move on from Allen). Reid’s starting role is unique, though, since he would allow Mobley to remain at the four spot while still adding long range shooting on offense.
All these players are worth consideration for the Cleveland Cavaliers either before this trade deadline or in the following offseason. Personal perspective might place one trade target over another in value, but all 16 prospects offer something new to the Cavs upon arrival.