3 "Damaged Goods" players the Cleveland Cavaliers should target this summer

The Cleveland Cavaliers could take a chance on an overlooked player this summer in a high-risk, high-reward move.
Golden State Warriors v Philadelphia 76ers
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As stars emerge in the NBA, others fade into the background following a rough stretch or being criticized for an overpriced contract. Thankfully, the Cleveland Cavaliers have avoided the tumultuous realm of negative contracts, but they might be in a position to rebuild a player's reputation this season.

With J.B. Bickerstaff ousted from the Cavs' head coaching position, the Cavaliers will introduce a new leader to the organization soon. If Cleveland discovers a player who is underappreciated by their current team but perfectly fits a role within the new coach's plans, they may have every reason to take a high-risk, high-reward swing and add that player to the roster.

It is not uncommon for a player to reignite their prominence with a change of scenery. Whether a system, culture or general situation is the cause, NBA players are far from a lost cause after one bad season. Also, if the Cavs do this in a trade, they may convince the other party to add in young prospects with high potential to compensate the Cavaliers for taking on a bad contract.

Otherwise, the Cavaliers may opt to spend their Mid-Level Exception (whichever one they have at their disposal) to sign a veteran leaving a bad situation. Even if the Cavs do not exit this offseason stealing an All-Star from another team or the free agency pool, they might discover an invaluable talent who fits their system.

Why the Cavaliers should target "damaged goods" players

Trading for a bad contract will never be an exciting headline for Cavaliers fans in the newspaper, but it may be their best way to take the next step as a contender. As mentioned, Cleveland can leverage accepting a bad contract to bring in exciting young prospects that a team would otherwise hold as nearly untouchable without significant draft compensation in return.

With Cleveland's minimal draft assets at their disposal, their best chance to find proven young talent may be through accepting another team's disregarded player. Fans and media may critique the move at first, especially if the Cavs deal Darius Garland or Jarrett Allen in the transaction, but the long-term benefits of this sort of trade could outweigh the initial response. Unless Cleveland can negotiate an undeniably perfect trade, they should consider taking on an inflated contract as a salary filler with the potential to rebuild their value.

As for free agents, the Cavs do not have access to enough cap space to sign the starring free agents this summer. Depending on the team's decision with Isaac Okoro's restricted free agency, the highest possible amount they can offer free agents is the $12.9 million non-taxpayer MLE. In their search for a major contributor this offseason, their options with a full MLE are still limited compared to what the Philadelphia 76ers can offer.

With this in mind, Cleveland's present depth allows them to take a chance on an overlooked free agent, potentially entering next season with the steal of the summer. Playing next to an All-NBA talent can improve any player's production, and Donovan Mitchell is no exception. With Mitchell at the helm, the undervalued player can play without the pressure to stand in the spotlight, whether they are acquired via trade or free agency.

If it does not work as Cleveland hopes, their current financial position allows them room to handle an overpriced contract for a few years before moving on. As one of the few NBA hopeful contenders under the luxury tax currently, the Cavs do not need to fret over the dollar amount each player makes so long as they can retain their best talent with Bird Rights.