The Cavaliers missed out on Simone Fontecchio
In what might prove to be the sneakiest win of the trade deadline, the Detroit Pistons acquired 28-year-old sophomore forward Simone Fontecchio from the Utah Jazz for Kevin Knox, draft rights to Gabriele Procida and a 2024 second-round pick one day before the deadline.
While there were never any confirmed reports linking Cleveland to the Italian forward, the Cavs' longstanding trade relationship with the Jazz and their cap space could have easily made them the right landing spot for Fontecchio. On a miniscule $3 million salary, Fontecchio's 39-percent three-point shot and toughened defense made him the best low-cost forward at the deadline. At 6-foot 8-inches, Fontecchio also offers size to battle in the frontcourt defensively.
It may have been nearly impossible for Fontecchio to earn consistent rotation minutes alongside Dean Wade and Georges Niang, but he would have given them another option in the playoffs for matchups that negate Niang's and Wade's skillset.
Fontecchio will be a restricted free agent this summer, and the Cavaliers may have believed they would be outbid for him while they also managed Okoro's restricted free agency. Perhaps the biggest cause for regret in not landing Fontecchio is that adding him possibly gave the Pistons enough floor-spacing insurance to trade Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks to another aspiring contender in the New York Knicks.
New York's newly-found depth could challenge the Cavs should they meet again the postseason. The Cavaliers likely have the better team this time around, but the same was said last year. Suggesting that Fontecchio's trade to Detroit directly resulted in New York's deal could be classified under Cavaliers fandom conspiracy theories, but there is reason to assume that Detroit would have been more hesitant to trade Bogdanovic if they did not have another proven shooter in his stead.
Ultimately, the Cleveland Cavaliers are still playoff bound with an All-NBA talent at the helm with Donovan Mitchell. After a rough start to the season, the Cavs are one of the most versatile and deadly teams as the postseason draws closer.