3 former Cavaliers who have thrived since leaving Cleveland

Cleveland's ones that got away.
Dallas Mavericks v Utah Jazz
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Isaiah Hartenstein - former Cavalier, current enemy

During Cleveland's rebuilding years, they employed the help of a young and unproven center in Isaiah Hartenstein. After two seasons with the Houston Rockets, Hartenstein joined the Denver Nuggets before a trade sent him to the Cavs. Harteinstein had a strong half year with Cleveland, averaging a career-high 8.3 points and 4.9 rebounds in that span after only averaging 3.5 points and 2.5 rebounds with Denver.

The league took notice of the potential in the third-year pro. His seven-foot frame and stocky build made him a commodity in the coming free agent class. He declined his $1.7 million player option, entering the summer an unrestricted free agent with plenty of suitors. The Cavaliers could not lure him back, eventually seeing him join the LA Clippers. One season later, he joined the New York Knicks and helped embarrass the Cavaliers in a quick five-game series in the 2023 playoffs.

Hartenstein will enter free agency again this summer with an even greater value among the league after two fantastic season with New York. While he is not an All-Star talent, he is one of the highest-valued young centers, especially this summer. The Cavaliers could try to bring him back to The Land, but they will be facing high bidders as the Knicks look to bring him back and other teams try to steal him.

The Cavaliers' frontcourt desperately needs a tough-nosed, unafraid option off the bench. The team's rebounding totals were far below the standard they should have with two big men in their starting lineup, and Hartenstein's physical playstyle would be an ideal solution off the bench. Unfortunately, the Cavs missed out on Hartenstein and will likely continue battling him in the postseason as they reach for the Finals.