3 underrated forward trade deadline targets for Cleveland Cavaliers to explore

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Toronto's Jalen McDaniels makes sense for Cavaliers

The Toronto Raptors became the NBA's most popular team as they traded both Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby within two weeks of one another. Both blockbuster news stories sent shockwaves across the league, signaling that the middling Raptors were finally open to a rebuild.

After signing Jalen McDaniels in the offseason, the 26-year-old forward has had the most inefficient and disappointing season of his career, shooting 20.8 percent from deep with an efficient field goal percent of 39.6 over 29 games played. In most circumstances, the Cavaliers should steer clear of McDaniels at any cost.

Last season, though, McDaniels had been a versatile forward for the Philadelphia 76ers, combining his shooting prowess with solid defense. His athleticism and height allowed McDaniels to impact winning for Philadelphia numerous times, though he never became a primary player in the rotation. McDaniels' best role has always been off the bench as a low-usage option to disrupt a rival team.

The fit just has not been there for McDaniels and Toronto, though, but the Raptors could still garner another couple of second-round picks and small salaries in exchange for the young wing. The Cavs could quickly match McDaniels' salary with Damian Jones and Ty Jerome and include a handful of second-rounders. While the Raptors might be more focused on dealing with their expiring contracts such as Gary Trent, Jr., they would have no reason to hang up the phone on a deal for McDaniels.

Cleveland's overall rotation has already likely been discovered, and Georges Niang and Dean Wade both fulfill much of what the Cavs need out of secondary frontcourt players. If either player is hurt, sick or a bad matchup in any given playoff series, Jalen McDaniels can easily slide into a low-minute role and give the Cavaliers an extra lift on both sides of the ball.

Where the Cavaliers ultimately go in the final days of trade season is anybody's guess. The franchise has been relatively reserved in leaking their intentions, often catching the news cycle by surprise with both their trade for Jarrett Allen in 2021 and their blockbuster deal for the assumed future Knick Donovan Mitchell in the 2022 offseason. Whatever direction Cleveland goes, the front office proves itself competent time and time again.

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