Love him or leave him? That is the question when it comes to the Cavaliers and their future with guard/forward Cedi Osman.
Actually, the Cavs do love Osman. They just have to decide how much by June 29. That is when the guarantee date for the $6.7 million on Osman’s contract sets in. If the Cavs decline to guarantee Osman’s deal … well, let’s just say he probably won’t return.
There are plenty of members of the organization who think Osman will in fact be playing for the Cavs next season, at least at the start. There’s another segment that strongly believes the Cavs are ready to move on.
Frankly, it’s not an easy decision for president of basketball operations Koby Altman and the front office.
Osman can be brilliant, scoring bushels of baskets in a matter of moments, playing at one speed (full) and offering instant energy. Also, under coach J.B. Bickerstaff, Osman’s defense has improved each season.
But Osman can also be maddening, missing wide-open shots, generally forcing things and occasionally playing way out of control.
On the bright side, rarely do you not notice that Osman is on the floor. He’s generally doing something.
This past season, Osman averaged 8.7 points on 45 percent shooting, including 37 percent on 3-pointers. It marked the first time he has failed to average double figures in scoring since his rookie year (2017-18).
That’s not necessarily a big deal, nor is it intended to say that Osman was a disappointment. Every team needs a seventh or eighth man, and let’s be honest, that’s pretty much proven to be Osman’s best role.
He was supposedly offered a chance to start at small forward in a training camp battle with Caris LeVert and Isaac Okoro. That was back in October. Neither LeVert nor Okoro really made a strong case to win or keep the job, but they came a lot closer than Osman.
This has pretty much been Osman’s career, the entirety of which has been spent in Cleveland. You never really know what you will get from one night to the next.
So far, the Cavs have been able to live with that. But this summer, we will know if they decide to keep doing it.
If so, Osman will be an unrestricted free agent next summer. So by picking up the guarantee, his expiring contract could also be used as a valuable asset in a potential trade. Without a doubt, the Cavs will explore that scenario.
Basically, here is what the Cavs want to add this summer — a small forward who is a high-level perimeter shooter. They don’t need a slasher or a big-time scorer at that spot. They need someone to get open, take a pass from Donovan Mitchell or Darius Garland, and knock it down.
For as much as he is loved in Cleveland and the organization overall, that will never be Osman. Now, the Cavs are left to ponder what to do about it.
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Cedi is not a problem. He can help a good team. Whether that’s as a 12th man or a 7th man is up to the coach and the roster supplied by management.
I’m not sure what people are expecting from Cedi. We know how he plays, what he can do. He’s been here a while. He’s helped win games here.
Guys like Cedi will be the turn to discussion, and scapegoats, when there is a bigger problem to address. Whether it’s roster changes, lineups, inconsistent rosters, this team has not been very consistent the past 5 years. How many coaches has Cedi had?
I still remember watching him play with LeBron, and fearing he would pickup bad habits (coasting) that he couldn’t afford individually to pick up. In the past year or year and half, Cedi has looked more like the basketball player team guy with all around game that some of us were hoping for when he entered the league. He’s a good all around player.
Why is it a hard decision? Because there are questions about the coach, questions about the starting lineup, questions about Jarrett Allen, the fit of the whole roster, everybody’s role, and whether BJ Bickerstaff knows how to manage all this talent. So it becomes really easy to for the office to point the finger at a smaller guy and make him the focus of the discussion. “If only we had the right bench players….” . That’s the problem.. Yeah, right.
Cedi is not the issue with this team. This shouldn’t be a hard decision, outside of trading against loyalty, the PR side. If a team wants to make a nice offer, because I know other teams will appreciate what he CAN do, that’s the business. Let’s not pretend like Cedi doesn’t perform to our expectations. We know Cedi, and we know he helps the Cavs. It’s up to coach to figure out how, when, and where, if at all.