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 3: Keep Dean Wade

Dean Wade continues to be one of the most underrated players in the NBA, a somewhat shocking development given how marketable the "low-usage, scrappy role player" archetype tends to be. NBA analysts and broadcasters love to point out the undervalued role players. Still, somehow Wade's impact has been lost as Jarrett Allen and Donovan Mitchell have sucked up all of the oxygen during Cleveland's impressive run.

Only Donovan Mitchell has been a more impactful player on the Cavaliers' scoring margin than Dean Wade. When Wade is on the court the Cavs outscore opponents by 8.4 points per 100 possessions. He is shooting 40.4 percent from deep as the ultimate release valve, living in the corners, while his perimeter defense is among the league's best. Literally, Basketball Index ranked Wade as the top "Wing Stopper" in the NBA this season:

Now it's time to add in Dean Wade's contract. The 27-year-old combo forward is in the first year of a three-year, $18.5 million deal with only a partial guarantee on the final season. That's an elite bargain for a player who fits seamlessly into nearly any lineup, as Wade does.

Many trade ideas being bandied about involving the Cavaliers have Dean Wade included, and that makes some sense on the surface; he's not one of the stars and therefore has salary that can be used to match a player coming back. Yet the reality is that what the Cavs need most are 3-and-D players, and they already have a great one in Dean Wade. Would trading him for someone like Royce O'Neale or D'Andre Hunter actually be an upgrade? Or is Wade a more useful player in his role than they are?

The Cavs should keep Dean Wade and go looking for another player like him, not send him out in a lateral move. He has proven himself much too valuable.