Trade Deadline 2023: Cleveland Cavaliers Mock Deadline

  • GM: Evan Dammarell, @amnotevan

    Salary Cap: $147,795,778

    Luxury Tax: $2,471,222

    • Given they are right under the luxury tax, it’ll be tough to take back much salary in a trade unless they salary dump a player

    GOAL: Acquire wing help for a championship push!


    • Acquire wings!

    • Stay below luxury tax while still acquiring upgrades

    • Reminder: Dean Wade cannot be traded this season because he signed an extension on September 27, 2022

    Players to Dangle

    Caris LeVert (1/$18.8)

    o   Salary: $18,796,296

    o   Likely won’t move him, but he’s expiring deal who hasn’t been extended yet, and may need him to salary match for a bigger fish

    o   OG Anunoby perhaps? Issue is you don’t have any picks to package with LeVert to get that upgrade

    Cedi Osman (2/$14.3 with NG in 2023-24)

    o   Salary: $7,426,088

    o   Can match up to $12,426,088 if you can manage to stay under the tax, but can only match $9,382,610 if in the tax

    Isaac Okoro (2/$16)

    o   Salary: $7,040,880

    o   Can match up to $12,040,880 if you can manage to stay under the tax, but can only match $8,901,100 if in the tax

    o   For Osman or Okoro, don’t trade unless you can package them to each other or assets for a wing upgrade

    o   Preferably a 3-and-D wing, or at least one who can shoot

    Dylan Windler (1/$4)

    o   Salary: $4,037,278

    o   Can salary match up to $7,165,236 if you can manage to stay under the tax, but can only match $5,146,597.50 if in the tax

    Target Players

    • Wings

    o   Justin Holiday, Atlanta Hawks
    o   Bogdan Bogdanovic, Atlanta Hawks
    o   Joe Harris, Brooklyn Nets
    o   Kelly Oubre, Charlotte Hornets
    o   Alex Caruso, Chicago Bulls
    o   Derrick Jones Jr., Chicago Bulls
    o   Javonte Green, Chicago Bulls
    o   Tim Hardaway Jr., Dallas Mavericks
    o   Reggie Bullock, Dallas Mavericks
    o   Alec Burks, Detroit Pistons
    o   Hamidou Diallo, Detroit Pistons
    o   Saddiq Bey, Detroit Pistons
    o   Eric Gordon, Houston Rockets
    o   Garrison Matthews, Houston Rockets
    o   Kenyon Martin Jr., Houston Rockets
    o   Buddy Hield, Indiana Pacers
    o   Oshae Brissett, Indiana Pacers
    o   Luke Kennard, Los Angeles Clippers
    o   Amir Coffey, Los Angeles Clippers
    o   Robert Covington, Los Angeles Clippers
    o   Troy Brown Jr., Los Angeles Lakers
    o   Grayson Allen, Milwaukee Bucks
    o   Jordan Nwora, Milwaukee Bucks
    o   Taurean Prince, Minnesota Timberwolves
    o   Cam Reddish, New York Knicks
    o   Evan Fournier, New York Knicks
    o   Jonathan Isaac, Orlando Magic
    o   Gary Harris, Orlando Magic
    o   Terrence Ross, Orlando Magic
    o   Matisse Thybulle, Philadelphia 76ers
    o   Furkan Korkmaz, Philadelphia 76ers
    o   Josh Richardson, San Antonio Spurs
    o   OG Anunoby, Toronto Raptors
    o   Malik Beasley, Utah Jazz
    o   Will Barton, Washington Wizards

    Assets Owned

    • TPE: $3,918,360
    • 2023 1st (lotto protected to IND)
    • 2024 1st
    • 2026 1st (UTA has swap rights)
    • 2028 1st (UTA has swap rights)

    o   None of these firsts are tradeable due to the Stepien Rule

    • 2023 2nd (more favorable of CLE & GSW)
    • 2024 GSW 2nd (#31-55 protected)
    • 2025 CLE 2nd (if 2023 first not conveyed, then to Indiana)
    • 2025 MIL 2nd
    • 2026 2nd
    • 2026 LAL 2nd (if 2023 first not conveyed, then to Indiana)
    • 2027 2nd
    • 2027 DEN 2nd
    • 2028 2nd
    • 2029 2nd


    Mock Trades to Date (Feb 2 Deadline)


    Cavs add a wing

    TRADE: Cavaliers trade 2023 GSW 2nd to the Denver Nuggets for Davon Reed


    For the Cavaliers, they desperately need consistent wings on their roster that can shoot and defend. Davon Reed showed flashes for Denver last year and parlayed that into a multi-year deal. Reed’s money is also non-guaranteed next year so if he underwhelms in his time in Cleveland for the remainder of the season and the playoffs, then they can cut him loose with no financial repercussions. For the Nuggets, they had to clear a roster spot for Willy Hernangomez, and they essentially flipped Reed for Hernangomez and two seconds. Excellent work by Denver. 

    Knicks, Cavs, and Spurs exchange wings


    Knicks receive Caris LeVert

    Cavaliers receive Josh Richardson

    Spurs receive Evan Fournier, Dallas’ 2023 1st (top-10 protected), Golden State’s 2024 2nd (via Cleveland; top-55 protected) and the rights to Luke Travers


    This trade makes sense for all three teams in a sense. While Caris LeVert is the superior player between himself and Josh Richardson nowadays, Cleveland made subsequent moves that made this trade make a lot more sense. Cleveland is desperate for consistent wings who can defend and shoot. The issue with LeVert is that he’s a wing who’s best with the ball in his hands, and between Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell, LeVert has become an afterthought in the offense. While Richardson plays a much more complementary role for the Cavaliers than LeVert does, he reminds me a bit of Isaac Okoro in the aspect of he’s able to defend, but can’t really shoot. Again, Cleveland adds multiple other wings in subsequent trades to their roster, so please hold judgment for now. 

    For the Knicks, they appear to be getting the best player in the deal with Caris LeVert. He slots in nicely as a sixth man behind RJ Barrett, and he’s a guy who Tom Thibodeau can rely on to play heavy minutes in case of injury. Additionally, the Knicks traded the Mavs’ 2023 first to the Spurs to take on the remaining $18.5 million in Evan Fournier’s money next year. LeVert is a free agent after this summer, so acquiring his Bird Rights will give the Knicks the ability to re-sign him if they so choose. But because the Knicks also got off of Hartenstein and Toppin’s money as well as Fournier, they could theoretically get to over $30 million in cap space if they renounce Caris LeVert, Coby White, and all their team options and non-guaranteed deals.

    For the Spurs, they’re doing what a tanking team should be doing. They have ample cap space to acquire bad salary in order to accumulate assets. Here, they take on Fournier’s deal next year and acquire another first for their services, as well as acquiring another potential second round pick and the rights to an international draft and stash. While Fournier’s money is seen as a net negative, he has a team option in 2024-25 that the team can decline and open up ample cap space next summer. Given they’ve already gotten off Doug McDermott’s $13,750,000 guaranteed deal next year, they can still have up to $45-$50 million in cap space depending on how they handle Jakob Poeltl’s contract this summer. 


    Hawks acquire shooting

    TRADE: The Atlanta Hawks acquire Seth Curry (Utah acquired him from BKN) and CLE 2029 1st (via UTA), Justin Holiday goes to the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Vit Krejci, the Kings 2024 1st (lotto protected) and cash considerations go to Utah


    The issue with Atlanta acquiring Seth Curry is that he’s too small to play alongside Trae Young. However, Atlanta does a pretty good job at staggering Young’s and Dejounte Murray’s minutes, so they would have to play Murray and Curry exclusively together when Young is on the bench. This will also likely allow the Hawks to stagger AJ Griffin when Curry and Murray are on the bench. However, I don’t love this deal for Atlanta. Atlanta gave up a Sacramento 2024 first (lottery protected) which they probably don’t think will be too high, but they swapped it for a 2029 Cleveland unprotected first. Atlanta figured Seth Curry is an upgrade to Justin Holiday, but it will be very hard for him to see consistent minutes as long as Young is healthy. 

    For Cleveland, they opened up a traded player exception that was large enough to take on Holiday after they traded Caris LeVert for Josh Richardson, so Holiday gives them an extra wing. Utah, meanwhile, acquires a more immediate pick for a pick that’s out in 2029. While that 2029 Cleveland first is unprotected, the Jazz GM did not worry about trading a pick for a draft class of kids that are currently in middle school. 


    Cavaliers and Blazers swap wings

    TRADE: The Portland Trailblazers trade Josh Hart and Greg Brown to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Cedi Osman, Isaac Okoro, and CLE 2025 2nd round pick


    For Cleveland, the goal was simple: acquire wings. And that’s exactly what they did. Cleveland sent out Cedi Osman, Isaac Okoro, and Caris LeVert and turned those three guys into Josh Richardson, Josh Hart, Davon Reed, and Justin Holiday. The biggest issue with LeVert is that he thrives best with the ball in his hands, and with one of Donovan Mitchell or Darius Garland on the court at all times, LeVert has been relegated to a sixth-man role as a result. However, Hart is an absolutely perfect fit. He can slide into this starting five, defend the opposing team’s best wing player, rebound well, and do the dirty work. While Cleveland was mindful to stay out of the luxury tax and accomplished that, they said they likely won’t be contenders this year. However, acquiring Hart with Richardson and Holiday off the bench vastly raises the Cavs ceiling. This offseason would be intriguing for Cleveland, as Hart, Richardson, and Holiday would all hit free agency this summer, as opposed to Cedi Osman or Isaac Okoro, who are both under contract next season. 

    For Portland, Hart is going to opt out of his de facto mutual option and test the free agency waters. Portland has a Jerami Grant free agency issue to worry about, and it’s unlikely they’d be able to lock up both while still avoiding the luxury tax. Here, Portland flipped Hart, picked up a second round pick, and added two wings that are under contract next year. Even so, Portland must be high enough on Okoro’s potential to take a swing like this. 

    Let me take a minute to note that both of these teams were within $2 million of the luxury tax before this trade was completed and both GMs, Evan Dammarrell and Mat Issa, did an excellent job of dodging the tax while still improving their rosters. While it’s easy as a fan to say “it’s not my money, go into the tax”, this is the largest luxury tax distribution ever, and it’s unlikely that a team that is able to avoid the tax is going to go into it under any scenario, especially if they have repeater tax issues later down the line. Excellent job.


    Suns add a ball-handler

    Cavaliers trade Raul Neto to the Suns for cash considerations


    The Suns needed a backup point guard, and Cleveland was going to outright waive Neto with Ricky Rubio back. As a result, he heads to a destination that can utilize his playmaking ability and give insurance to Phoenix in their backcourt. 

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