Cavs, Pacers Among Highest Free-Agency Grades

The Cavaliers and Pacers each did well for themselves in free agency, filling needs with signings and trades.Bennedict Mathurin shakes hands with Donovan Mitchell

How well? Well, good enough that they each received an “A” in the team-by-team free agency grades handed out by Sam Quinn of CBS Sports.

The Cavs’ biggest moves were trading for former Heat guard/forward Max Strus, and signing ex-76ers forward Georges Niang, ex-Jazz center and ex-Warriors guard Ty Jerome. Oh, and re-signing small forward Caris LeVert.

“Cleveland’s goal this offseason was to come away with one viable wing to pair with their two star guards and their two star bigs. They ultimately landed two,” Quinn wrote. “Neither Georges Niang or Max Strus are especially strong defenders, but both will work wonders on an offense that took the seventh-fewest 3-pointers in the NBA last season.”

Quinn went on to write that the Cavs should be “even better” than last season’s 51-31 team thanks to the new additions.

Meanwhile, the Pacers signed guard Bruce Brown away from the champion Nuggets, as well as made a trade for former Knicks forward Obi Toppin.

“Indiana handled the Bruce Brown situation flawlessly,” Quinn wrote. “They used their pile of cap space to throw an enormous first-year salary at his way, preventing other teams from matching their raw price, but they only guaranteed the first year of the deal. Now, if the championship shine wears off of Brown, or if he gets hurt, or if they simply have other priorities, they can either let him go or, more likely, re-sign him at a more palatable long-term number next summer. They went on to steal Obi Toppin from the Knicks for two second-round picks.”

As of today, only two other teams have warranted an “A” from Quinn — the Suns and Heat. Several did, however, garner an “incomplete,” with plenty of time remaining for teams to upgrade the rosters between now and the start of the 2023-24 season.

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