Three Realistic Moves For The Cleveland Cavs To Make

Three Realistic Moves For The Cleveland Cavs To Make

Ayden Fahlstrom
5 months ago
3 min read
Cavaliers guard Collin Sexton lays the ball up past Warriors forward Draymond Green

The Cleveland Cavaliers are in the process of tinkering their roster for the 2022-23 season. Since free agency began on June 30, Cleveland has signed veteran guards Ricky Rubio and Raul Neto along with center Robin Lopez. 

A week earlier, the Cavs drafted four new players, headlined by first-round pick Ochai Agbaji.

Every move the Cavaliers have made thus far will improve the depth and make the team a little bit stronger. But there’s a good chance they’re not done yet, as the pressure is officially on for the Wine and Gold to snap their four-year playoff drought next spring.

While the Cavs can go in any number of directions this offseason, here are three realistic moves they should consider before training camp gets underway.

1. Re-Sign Collin Sexton

Despite being just 23 years old, Collin Sexton is one of the longest-tenured Cavaliers on the roster. He showed considerable improvement in each of his first three campaigns, including a career-high 24.3 points per game in 2020-21. Yet his contributions last year were minimal after tearing his meniscus 11 games into the season.

Sexton is a restricted free agent, which allows Cleveland a chance to match any offer he receives from another team. One team that has reportedly shown interest is the Dallas Mavericks, who lost Jalen Brunson to the New York Knicks. However, Cleveland seems uninterested in the players Dallas is offering in a sign-and-trade.

Rather than trading Sexton for pennies on the dollar, it makes more sense to negotiate a long-term contract extension. Assuming his meniscus is fully healed, the former All-Rookie guard is the ideal complement to Darius Garland in the backcourt. Even if he’s not scoring 24 points a night, he will still improve an offense that finished in the bottom third of the league.

Signing Sexton to a four-year deal worth $20 million a year is a fair compromise. And it’s something the Cavs need to do before a team swoops him away.

2. Trade Kevin Love for Gordon Hayward

Kevin Love has been a Cavalier for eight seasons. He’s won a lot of games and he’s lost a lot of games, but he’s made a whole lot of money doing both.

Love is entering the final year of a four-year, $120.4 million extension. Even after a solid season in which he appeared in 74 games (his most since 2015-16), the 33-year-old is due to make a whopping $28.9 million. If the Cavaliers are going to have to pay someone that much money, they should consider Gordon Hayward instead.

Like Love, Hayward has struggled to stay on the court over the last few seasons. But the 32-year-old is still a productive scorer when he’s available, averaging 19.6 points as recently as 2020-21. However, the Charlotte Hornets wouldn’t mind moving on from the $61.5 million he’s owed over the next two seasons.

Charlotte could prefer one year of Love over two years of Hayward, giving them more cap flexibility down the road. Meanwhile, the Cavaliers get a proven shooter who can start at the 3 as well as a draft asset for helping the Hornets out of a jam.

3. Remain Flexible This Offseason

Realistically, the Cavaliers are not in the Kevin Durant or Kyrie Irving sweepstakes. Nor are they going to go all-in for someone like Donovan Mitchell. Instead, they’re going to assess low-risk, high-reward players on the free agent market that can make a good core even better. That should remain the plan.

With +1000 odds to win the NBA Championship, Cleveland's expecations aren't that high this offseason. They don't need to overpay for Sexton or Caris LeVert extensions. They don't need to "go all-in" for a superstar like the Minnesota Timberwolves did, trading multiple first-rounders for Rudy Gobert.

Instead, the Cavaliers should enjoy their current flexibility. Even after extending Darius Garland and Jarrett Allen, the Cavs are still an interesting suitor for LeBron James in 2023, according to ESPN's Brian Windhorst.

While some fans might wince at the thought of "LeGM" destroying this young core, it's undeniable that his championship-presence on and off the court would make this squad immediate contenders in the Eastern Conference.

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