After starting the season a disappointing 13-12, the Cleveland Cavaliers have taken the NBA by storm and gone 19-4 since December 15 to claim the second spot in the Eastern Conference standings. Sitting at 32-16 overall, they are one of the hottest teams in the association.
This is an excellent development for Cavs fans hoping to keep Donovan Mitchell in town. After rumors of him being dealt surfaced earlier in the season, General Manager Koby Altman has since reportedly told opposing executives to "lose his number" regarding any potential trades for Mitchell.
With the trade deadline less than 48 hours away, Cleveland will continue trying to level up in order to remain at the top of East when the playoffs begin. There have been several players linked to the Cavs over the last several weeks. Here, we will order them from most desirable to have on the roster (no-brainer) to least desirable (must-avoid).
Royce O'Neale - Absolute no-brainer
The Brooklyn Nets wing has been connected to the Cavaliers as one of their top targets multiple times this season. Playing in his seventh professional season, O'Neale is a very solid option as a three-and-D player that can be relied on in various situations over the course of a 48-minute game.
Through 48 games with the Nets in 2023-24, he is putting up averages of 7.2 points, 4.5 rebounds and shooting 36% from beyond the arc, all while playing his lowest minutes since his second season in 2018-19. There are not many red flags when it comes to O'Neale's game. He is very much a role player, but he performs well in what he is asked to do.
Cleveland could use a player of his variety to create more lineup flexibility as well as to give them another reliable defender, which will become hugely important in the playoffs.