How early Eastern Conference offseason moves affect the Cleveland Cavaliers

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The Cleveland Cavaliers finally made it official, completing Kenny Atkinson’s new head coaching contract, and the squad selected an intriguing prospect at 20th overall (Jaylon Tyson) in round one of the Draft. Now, the Wine and Gold await word on Donovan Mitchell’s decision on his deal.

In the meantime, supporters should be excited. Atkinson was already a sharp player development mind with the approval of Jarrett Allen. Bringing him into an environment with Craig Porter Jr., Evan Mobley and Tyson should help those players max out.

The Cavs’ rookie, Tyson, is a talented scorer and Pac-12 First Teamer, averaging 19.6 points on 46.5 percent shooting, with 6.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.2 steals, and 3.1 turnovers per game in his last collegiate season. He can create separation with his dribble to hit outside jumpers and is a strong finisher at close range. His high athletic ability allows him to be molded into an effective defender.

At the same time, other squads in the conference have improved, and some are worse off.

But how did this affect the Cavaliers?

New York Knicks blockbuster

The New York Knicks instantly improved significantly by adding another versatile wing, Mikal Bridges. The exchange took five first-round picks, including four unprotected, with an unprotected pick swap and a second-round pick. The Knicks' ability to keep Isaiah Hartenstein is difficult, but they now have two premier high-quality point-of-attack defenders who can guard up. ESPN reported that O.G. Anunoby intends to sign a five-year $212.5 million deal.

The trade upgrades the Knicks’ switching, especially when Josh Hart shares the court.

Bridges as a third or fourth option is also ideal for him and the team. He had his most efficient scoring season in 2020-21 for the Phoenix Suns as the fourth option, and his defense was elite. In New York, he will fit perfectly in Tom Thinodeau’s system, especially since he hasn’t missed a regular-season game in two years and averaged 38.5 minutes per game in his last two Playoff trips.

The Knicks, when whole, became an even more problematic matchup for the Cavaliers with these moves. Shedding Anunoby and Bridges off the ball will require a hard screen or explosion off the dribble. Both work well in the zone up top and below and can handle their own without double teams on the opponent’s best perimeter player.