Constructing the perfect Cleveland Cavaliers trade deadline in 2024

Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers
Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers / Dustin Satloff/GettyImages
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Step No. 2: Trade Caris LeVert

This isn't the same sort of call to trade a palyer like with the Chicago Bulls and Zach LaVine, who should take any deal they can find to get off of his contract. Nor is it a situation with a toxic player the team needs to wash their hands of. Caris LeVert is on a reasonable contract, is playing well and is a positive influence on the locker.

So why trade him? Because he is the best trade asset the Cavaliers have right now outside of their starting lineup, and given their lack of draft picks it's unlikely that the Cavs can make any sort of real upgrade without moving him. His salary of $15.38 million is high enough to match someone significant, and he holds value on his own and even more if paired with second-round picks.

LeVert has been a valuable player to the Cavaliers. His ability to step up in the absence of Garland or Mitchell and raise the floor of the offense is valuable, and he has been an important part of their success over the past two months. Yet when this team is at full strength they will rely on LeVert much less, even more so as they increase the stagger between Garland and Mitchell to continue maximizing shooting and defense on the perimeter.

That makes LeVert more valuable to other teams than to the Cavaliers, and makes him their best shot at trading for a 3-and-D player to plug into the lineup, someone better deployed off-ball on offense. Trading LeVert opens up a much larger pool of trade candidates for the team. If they don't find a trade that clearly makes them better they can and should hang onto LeVert, but they need to go into deadline discussions with LeVert on the table.