Player No. 1: Kelly Oubre Jr.
Dante Exum and Kris Dunn were players not on our radar in free agency this summer. We wrote plenty of pieces examining potential fits, and none of them including Exum and Dunn. To their credit, they took longshot opportunities and turned them into starting jobs. It's more like what the Cavaliers did with Sam Merrill than what they did with Georges Niang or Max Strus.
The one player who was a free agent this summer and was on our radar was Kelly Oubre Jr. The athletic wing was coming off of a high-scoring, low-efficiency season for the moribund Charlotte Hornets. He looked in line to get a hefty payday, likely pricing him out of the Cavs' market. At that price, it didn't make sense for them to pay up for a player who wasn't going to be a clear starter.
Eventually, the market dried up, however, as teams spent their money elsewhere, and Oubre Jr. was caught in the lurch. He ultimately signed a one-year veteran's minimum with the Philadelphia 76ers and has been a key rotation player, averaging 13.1 points for one of the few teams with a better record than the Cavaliers.
Oubre Jr. isn't a point guard, so he wouldn't be replacing Jerome like-for-like, but the rise of Craig Porter Jr. has allowed Cleveland to survive his absence at the point, and the Cavaliers could always benefit from more wings. Oubre could be another body in the rotation and playing small forward, and his offensive pop and defensive tools would be a great fit, especially on an inexpensive one-year prove-it deal.
The Cavaliers hope Ty Jerome can get healthy soon and start contributing. They also likely can't help looking over their shoulder and asking "what if" they had signed someone else this summer.