The 2024 trade deadline has come to a close, and the Cleveland Cavaliers were one of the handful of teams that passed up the temptation to make headlines.
Leading up to the deadline, the Cavaliers had expressed interest in a variety of 3-and-D forwards, but as they soared up the Eastern Conference standings, they opted to bet on continuity and in-season growth. Following the trade buzzer, Cavs President of Basketball Operations Koby Altman held a virtual media availability to address their lack of movement.
Altman expressed that Cleveland has been "hyper focused" on themselves after their active offseason. Ahead of the 2023-24 season, the Cavs added Max Strus and Georges Niang to the roster. Both veteran forwards have become substantial contributors for the team, and the internal development of Isaac Okoro, Dean Wade and Sam Merrill was also highlighted by Altman as factors in the franchise's decision to remain silent.
Since the turn of the calendar year, the Cavaliers have only lost two games, leaving numerous contenders in the wake of their league-leading 15.3 net rating since January 1. Cleveland has been undeniably the NBA's best team of 2024, even though they only recently got both Evan Mobley and Darius Garland back.
Making a trade might have given the Cavs marginal growth, but the risks of taking a step back while the rest of East hopefuls are chasing after you does not seem worth losing rotation players or future draft picks. They can still win big in the buyout market to add veteran talent without losing any of their own primary players.
The growth the Cavaliers have shown makes a good argument not to have made any trades, but many of the 3-and-D players who were dealt may have Cleveland thinking what could have been. The organization has a depleted draft asset pool, but they witnessed high-level role players traded for packages they easily could have matched.
These two players might cause the Cavs' front office to ponder the what if's, but it does not change just how outstanding Cleveland has been for the last several months.