Grade the Trade: Cavaliers sell high on LeVert in wild pitch

Cleveland Cavaliers, Caris LeVert. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
Cleveland Cavaliers, Caris LeVert. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports /
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Cleveland Cavaliers
Isaac Okoro reacts with his Cleveland Cavaliers teammates after hitting what would be a game-winning basket. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

The Cavaliers should turn down this trade

There is a thin veneer of logic to this deal, laid out on top of a long list of reasons not to make this trade. The Cavaliers are thin at point guard, Brogdon is a better shooter and probably a better passer than LeVert. Selling high on Caris LeVert isn’t a horrible idea given that he is playing above his normal level.

Now let’s peel that off and evaluate why this trade would be a disaster. The Cavaliers are 19th in offense, yes, but they are also 19th in defense. They added Max Strus and Georges Niang this summer to improve their shooting, but neither is an impact defender. The two players in the rotation who can defend on the perimeter at a high level are Caris LeVert and Isaac Okoro, and this deal would be sending both down the Oregon Trail.

What the Cavaliers need more than “more shooting” are two-way players who can impact the game positively on both ends of the court. Caris LeVert may have some real overlap with Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell but he is among the best “two-way” players on this roster, especially the way he is playing this year.

Without either Okoro or LeVert, it’s unclear how the Cavaliers would defend anyone on the perimeter, and they would essentially be locking in two negative defenders into the backcourt for all 48 minutes. They’d be getting older and more injury-prone (remember, Brogdon was being traded to the Clippers this summer before his medical records squashed the deal) and putting even more of a defensive burden on Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen.

This is a trade where the Cavaliers would be sealing a leak by forming two new holes; it’s absolutely not the path that they should take. There may be a better move out there for LeVert, but this is not it.

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Grade: C