3 early Cavaliers predictions for 2024 trade deadline

Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen, Cleveland Cavaliers
Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen, Cleveland Cavaliers / Jason Miller/GettyImages
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Prediction No. 3: Isaac Okoro will be traded

The Cleveland Cavaliers have invested a lot in Isaac Okoro, both in draft capital and in playing times. He is back in the starting lineup to add to his impressive total; only Darius Garland has started more games in the last four seasons that Okoro. Yet at the same time, what the Cavaliers have not invested in Okoro is money.

The two sides were unable to come to an agreement on a rookie extension, leaving Okoro hurtling toward restricted free agency next offseason. That's not a death knell, for Okoro or his future in Cleveland, but it certainly leaves a wide range of possibilties still on the table.

The Cavaliers still depend on Okoro's defense, as he is one of the league's best on-ball defenders and no slouch in the team scheme either. If they could clip his defense and paste it onto a solid shooter they would have extended Okoro for significant money this past offseason. Could you imagine if Okoro's defense and Sam Merrill's offense came in the same player?

Alas, no such technology has been created outside of NBA 2K, and Okoro's lack of offensive impact pushed Cleveland to replace him with Max Strus. That makes it exceedingly likely that they listen to offers for Okoro from teams interested in trying him out for a few months ahead of free agency. It's exactly what the Philadelphia 76ers did last season with their young defender in Matisse Thybulle, and the Portland Trail Blazers bit and added him at the deadline before re-signing him this past summer.

Teams looking to take a flier on an elite defensive guard will be calling, and ultimately Okoro will be dealt, either in a small deal to bring back an asset or as a part of a larger trade.