The Cleveland Cavaliers want to win a championship. That’s the goal ahead of the franchise, and after drafting franchise pillars like Darius Garland and Evan Mobley and trading for Donovan Mitchell, Jarrett Allen and Max Strus, the goal is no longer simply a far-off dream but a tangible destination to build toward.
Reaching that goal will take some work. This is a group that still hasn’t won a playoff series together, and they have started this season off slowly due to injuries and hot opponent shooting. Time and internal development will be required to take the next step, but it’s very likely at least one other trade will be in the works.
Which players on the team could be traded during this season? Let’s look at five candidates to be dealt and explain why the team would move them and what kind of return they could bring back to the team.
The Cleveland Cavaliers have certainly benefited from Ricky Rubio’s presence in the organization over the past few seasons, but through little fault of his own he has not been able to help them out much on the court. He was brilliant for 34 games in 2021-22 before tearing his ACL, then came back for just 33 more games last season where he was clearly still hampered by that injury. He has been away from the team for the last few months to focus on his mental health, with no timeline for his return.
In an ideal world, Rubio would return to the team healthy on every level and help to shore up their backcourt. If that does not happen, however, the Cavaliers may need to use his $6.1 million salary in a trade to bring back a player who can help them on the court. They did that two seasons ago after he tore his ACL to match the salary of Caris LeVert, and could do so again as part of a deal to bring back a two-way contributor from a rebuilding team.