Grade the Trade: Cavaliers make their bid for contention in bold deadline proposal

Cleveland Cavaliers v Brooklyn Nets
Cleveland Cavaliers v Brooklyn Nets / Al Bello/GettyImages
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Crossing the Brooklyn Bridge

The first forward Fedor named as a player garnering real interest from the Cavaliers is 30-year-old forward Dorian Finney-Smith of the Brooklyn Nets. The Cavs' intrigue toward Finney-Smith is no surprise, and they will likely be competing with 29 other teams for the chance to land the proven veteran talent.

Cavs DFS trade

In this two-for-one proposal, the Nets get younger and add a cheaper 3-and-D forward in Dean Wade to add to their young core. Since the 2021 James Harden trade, Brooklyn has lost team control of the vast majority of their first-round picks. Thus, exchanging DFS only for draft compensation leaves them with a losing squad without reaping the rewards in the lottery.

Currently, the Nets are reportedly seeking the equivalent of two first-round picks in return for Finney-Smith, meaning the Cavaliers' young talent could be the starting point for a deal with Brooklyn.
Given the trade package the New York Knicks sent to the Toronto Raptors for OG Anunoby, the chances of Brooklyn receiving first-round picks in return for Dorian Finney-Smith is ultimately low. While the Cavs lack actual first-round picks to exchange, Fedor also mentioned the Nets have shown serious interest in Dean Wade over the last few seasons.

Wade has shot 36.4 percent from three-point range this season on 3.6 attempts per game, alternating as both a bench and starting player over the course of the ongoing season. Wade has also grabbed a career-high 4.5 rebounds a game, helping Cleveland in their push to the top half of Eastern competitors. In this trade, Wade's two-way play perfectly slots into Brooklyn's rotation and complements both Mikal Bridges and Cam Thomas on both ends of the court.

Additionally, the Nets add $8.2 million back into their salary flexibility, as Wade's and Damian Jones' accumulative salaries only account for $5.7 million in incoming salary, because the Cavaliers only sent cash to the Utah Jazz to add Damian Jones to the roster. Thus, Jones' $2.5 million salary does not transfer to Brooklyn's salary cap.

Adding Wade to the roster alongside improved salary flexibility and two second-round picks would help the Nets better than the pick-centric offers other rivals could send to Brooklyn. Cleveland's interest in the deal is more straightforward, considering Finney-Smith's demonstrated skillset.