3 Caris LeVert trade proposals to make Cleveland Cavaliers a contender

Cleveland Cavaliers v Brooklyn Nets
Cleveland Cavaliers v Brooklyn Nets / Dustin Satloff/GettyImages
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Trade No. 2 - Cameron Johnson, Brooklyn Nets

Last trade deadline, the Cleveland Cavaliers had confirmed interest in Brooklyn Nets forward Royce O'Neale, but no deal ever got done. Since then, both teams have been linked together in numerous trade rumors, including Brooklyn's interest in a blockbuster Donovan Mitchell deal.

Historically, the Cavaliers acquired Jarrett Allen from the Nets in the 2021 James Harden headlining trade. Additionally, Caris LeVert also started his career in Brooklyn, being sent to the Indiana Pacers in the same deal that landed Allen in Cleveland. As the Nets look to define themselves as a playoff-caliber team behind Mikal Bridges and Cam Thomas, bringing LeVert back to lead the second unit could be an intriguing option for the Nets.

LeVert/Johnson Nets trade

Cameron Johnson's $24.4 million salary this season is too high to match evenly with LeVert, leaving the Cavaliers to add in salary filler to match. Given Cleveland's long-time interest in Royce O'Neale, the Cavs would likely want to see him included in the deal, giving both Niang and Rubio alongside a second-round pick in return.

Although Johnson has dealt with his fair share of sidelining injuries over his career, the 27-year-old forward has a career 39.5 percent 3-point shot with 5.6 attempts per game. Paired with his 4.9 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game, Johnson would make an instant impact for the Cavs as a floor spacer in the frontcourt.

Defensively, Johnson is not a stalwart anchor like Mobley or Allen, but he is less foul-prone than Niang and can hold his own at 6-foot 8-inches against most other power forwards in the NBA. Keeping Okoro in this deal also allows the Cavs to retain their best defender off the bench, alleviating some of Johnson's defensive flaws.

Additionally, O'Neale's 3-point prowess and reputation as a 3-and-D forward gives the Cavs another option to diversify their lineups, especially in response to any other future injuries to Cleveland's forward rotation.

Finally, the Cavaliers could look back to the west coast for a LeVert suitor ready to compete for the title.