Cavaliers Rumors: Hawks guard could land in Cleveland to beef up the offense

Bogdan Bogdanovic and Dejounte Murray, Atlanta Hawks
Bogdan Bogdanovic and Dejounte Murray, Atlanta Hawks / Todd Kirkland/GettyImages

Winning a title in the NBA is not easy. You need top-tier star players, as many games at home as possible, a dominant and versatile defense, and an offense with an inevitable star and supporting players who can score when the star is doubled. Having a Top-5 player, a Top-10 offense and Top-10 defense is the formula to success.

The Cleveland Cavaliers can't do anything right now to get a Top-5 player. Donovan Mitchell is a phenomenal offensive player, but at his best he is threatening the edge of the Top 10, not the Top 5. To have a chance at a deep playoff run, then, the Cavs need to craft a roster that is dominant on both offense and defense.

They've got the defensive part of the equation figured out. They were the league's No. 1 defense last season and are ranked No. 2 again this year, rebounding from a slow start to strangle opponents over the past six weeks and push back into the Top 2, behind only the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Cavaliers could use an offensive jolt

The offense is a different story. They rank just 17th in offense for the season, averaging 115.6 points per 100 possessions. That's a hair behind the league average of 115.9 points per 100 possessions, and it's a far cry from the offensive attack of the New York Knicks (119.1) or Philadelphia 76ers (119.8) that they are battling in the standings and would face in the playoffs, not to mention the third-place Milwaukee Bucks and second-place Boston Celtics.

The Cavs hope that getting Darius Garland back will help to juice the offense, even as they also face the challenge of integrating him into their new offensive attack, focused on more movement and shooting and less dribbling and probing. Yet there is no question this team could also benefit from another player who can both create shots (a la Caris LeVert) and hit them off-the-catch (a la Sam Merrill).

A recent trade rumors has linked the Cleveland Cavaliers to just such a player. The Atlanta Hawks, expected to be a playoff team prior to the season, have stumbled and bumbled their way to a disappointing 20-27 record. Unlike a team like the Chicago Bulls, clinging to their veterans in denial of the writing on the wall, the Hawks sound like they are open to trading their players for a fair value.

The Cavaliers could trade for Bogdan Bogdanovic

In a recent article by Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report the Cavaliers were listed as a team that may have interest in Atlanta Hawks guard Bogdan Bogdanovic. The 31 year old wing has been one of the steadier players on the Hawks this season, averaging a career-best 17.1 points while shooting 37.1 percent from deep on 8.4 attempts per game.

As Buckley notes, the market for Bogdanovic may not end up very robust given the other wings and guards available. That could work in the Cavaliers' favor, who are without first-round picks to offer and would need to build a package around second-round picks and matching salary.

Bogdanovic makes $18.7 million this season on a contract that will descend each of the next three years, culminating in a $16 million team option in 2026-27. That is a fair amount for a player of Bogdanovic's impact and locks him up for three more seasons past this one. He brings the high-volume shooting of a gunner but can also create offense off-the-dribble. He's essentially 85 percent of Caris LeVert with the ball in his hands and 85 percent of Sam Merrill as an off-ball shooter, making him an ideal fit off the bench for the Cavaliers.

Matching Bogdanovic's salary would almost certainly mean moving on from Caris LeVert, which would also provide the Atlanta Hawks with a solid veteran to help them compete or require a third team who would want to take back LeVert. Either way, the value is close enough to think this is a deal that could get done if the Hawks are open to trading Bogdanovic to the Cleveland Cavaliers.