A fantastic regular season came to a crashing halt in the first round of the playoffs.
For the record, there are two priorities — landing another big body, as well as another wing player, preferably a high-level perimeter shooter, as president of basketball operations Koby Altman suggested to reporters.
Problem is, the Cavs don’t have many assets with which to work. They sure don’t possess available draft picks, after sending their 2025, 2027 and 2029 first-rounders to the Jazz as part of the Mitchell trade.
They basically have to keep the rest, per NBA rules.
Along with that, they’re not about to deal any of the aforementioned core four. The goal now is to build even more cohesion around Mitchell, who was dynamic in his first year in Cleveland, averaging a career-high 28.3 points per game. That included the 71-point night vs. the Bulls on Jan. 2.
So it seems as if the Cavs will see what they can get in exchange for some of their reserves.
For starters, sources have told Hoops Wire they do intend to re-sign and bring back forward/guard Caris LeVert, one of the few who had a pretty good showing in the playoff loss to the Knicks. As with anything involving free agency, the dollars will just have to make sense when it comes to LeVert. Both sides seem confident it will.
As for potential trade chips, rival executives have told Hoops Wire they expect the Cavs to see what they can get in exchange for a package centered on small forward Isaac Okoro. While the Cavs like Okoro’s energy, work ethic and defense, he has yet to be a strong fit alongside the other youngsters. This despite repeated opportunities.
It’s as if the Cavs have spent a lot of time forcing it with Okoro, giving him more of a chance than may have been afforded other players. No one has said that. It just appears that way sometimes.
Mostly, though, Okoro is the member of the roster who is likely to draw the most interest from opposing teams. He’s young (22), athletic and again, plays hard. He may be an even better fit with another program.
The Cavs have a team option on Osman’s contract and will have to make a decision about it by the start of free agency (June 29). So that makes him a natural trade candidate, and while Osman and/or Rubio wouldn’t bring back a star, they could bring back a shooter or rebounder who proves to be a valuable fit.
Both of those things were wildly lacking in the first-round series vs. the Knicks. Altman will set out to fix it, and while he has limited assets, the one thing we know about Altman is he will always try.
We can expect more of the same this summer.