3 Caris LeVert trade proposals to make Cleveland Cavaliers a contender

Cleveland Cavaliers v Brooklyn Nets
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The Cleveland Cavaliers achieved their goal of improving depth this offseason, but they are barely holding onto a guaranteed playoff spot amidst injuries and a shallow frontcourt rotation.

Following the New York Knicks' acquisition of OG Anunoby, the NBA trade season is in full swing as teams in the middle of the pack try to differentiate themselves and gain momentum for the later stretch of the regular season. If the Cavaliers hope to stay atop the East as they did a season ago, making the right trade before the February 8 deadline will be crucial.

After their New Year's Day loss to the Toronto Raptors, Cleveland fell back into the Play-In Tournament with the eighth seed. Without Evan Mobley in the starting frontcourt, the Cavs' options behind Jarrett Allen and Dean Wade have been severely limited. Georges Niang's 3-point shots have not fallen at the rate the Cavaliers have needed, leading to a desperate need for another frontcourt player to round out the rotation.

Caris LeVert is the Cavaliers' best option in a trade

The Cavaliers have several talented wings and backcourt pieces on team-friendly contracts, leaving these players to be the best options in a trade for a big forward. With Isaac Okoro and Craig Porter, Jr. in the rotation, Cleveland's backcourt lineup is far better than it was expected to be at the start of the season. Neither of these players will return the player the Cavaliers need, though.

Sixth man Caris LeVert has been Cleveland's best bench player and is making only $15.3 million this season with another year on his deal at $16.6 million. While it may seem counter-productive to trade away their best second-unit contributor, LeVert's role with the Cavs has been in flux ever since he joined, and he is likely to garner more interest than any other bench player on the open market.

Losing LeVert would be a painful sight, given his heroic performances and steady contributions in his two-and-a-half seasons with Cleveland. The Columbus native has been incredibly loyal to the organization, willing to take on any assignment sent his way. To add a reliable frontcourt option, however, the Cavaliers will need to sacrifice in return, and LeVert's contract and skillset is the best path to the right deal.

With this in mind, the Cavaliers cannot give LeVert up for free. He is a starting-caliber swing man who impacts both sides of the court. These three forwards would be worth the price for a trade deadline move.