Keep or Trade? Identifying Cavs Long-Term Stars
Updated: Feb 7
By Zach Weiss
NBA Analyst @TheTriumphant23
As the Cavs fell to the Knicks by 20 points on Monday after self-destructing against Chicago in the prior game, it became increasingly clear that changes need to be made. Injuries or not, this team is nowhere near where it should be after 44 games. Read below as we identify which players should stay, and which should go.
1) Tristan Thompson - KEEP
TT brings so much to the floor for this Cavs team. Energy, rebounding, locker room leadership. Even on the days where he struggles to score, he's making several positive contributions. He should be here for the long haul.
2) Ante Zizic - DROP
The lone player still on the team from the Kyrie trade, he has struggled with the Cavs. A 7'0 player that doesn't excel on the boards and can't score consistently should not be part of a team that hopes to eventually contend.
3) Collin Sexton - KEEP
His game is predicated on speed and agility, and despite a some struggles, he is averaging nearly 20 points per game. When you need a basket, you can go to him. He's been playing well as the shooting guard for the Cavs this year, and he's a big part of the future plans.
4) Kevin Love - TRADE
This one is a no-brainer. He has several years and over $90 million left on his contract, but his time here is reaching its end. Kevin can still shoot the three well and push the ball in transition, but they need younger guys to take those minutes. He should get his #0 retired here, but it is clear that he has overstayed his welcome.
5) John Henson- TRADE
He has served as a tremendous rim protector for the Cavs this year since he got healthy, but he doesn't add enough when he's on the floor. He's an offensive liability who would be better elsewhere. The 29 year-old has some real trade value and could net the Cavs a decent young player or draft pick.
6) Cedi Osman - KEEP
They signed him to a four-year extension worth roughly $32 million, a bargain for a man of Cedi's talent. He can get hot from three and is effective when taking it to the rim. He also leads the team in deflections, a stat indicative of his defensive improvement in 2019-20.
7) Brandon Knight - TRADE
Injuries hampered him in a way they haven't done to many other 28 year-olds. He can shoot the three well but that's about it. Knight hasn't been great since coming to the Cavs from Houston last year, and we'll see what his future holds. But it is not going to see him in the Wine and Gold.
8) Darius Garland - KEEP
The point guard of the future! Darius is playing with a lot more confidence of late and his stats are showing that. He had his first NBA double-double against the Clippers last week and is showing confidence by taking a lot of strong defenders one-on-one (and beating them). The ceiling is the roof for the Vanderbilt product.
9) Alfonzo McKinnie - KEEP (for now)
He's showed a lot of flashes for the Cavs this year, while also having several unimpressive performances. While Kevin Porter has been out, he has shown an ability to be strong on the boards and as a slasher, finishing through contact. At 27 he isn't exactly young, but if you give him a multi-year deal, you may be able to trade him for a pick or younger player this summer.
10) Matthew Dellavedova - KEEP (on a short-term deal)
It was a surprise last year when the Cavs were able to bring Delly back to The Land last season as part of the George Hill haul. He isn't the player he was in his first tenure, but he's a great passer and defender. He's struggling to score the ball but always brings energy when he enters the game. The Cavs should give him a 1-2 year deal this summer to keep him as a mentor for Garland and Sexton.
11) Dante Exum - PROCEED WITH CAUTION
Exum has been a good addition to the Cavs since coming over a month ago. He has provided strong defense and been a good ball-mover. He had a 28-point outburst against Minnesota, but hasn't scored much since that game a few weeks ago. He is still only 24 and has potential to be a future piece. He also has a past that marks him with baggage as a very injury-prone player. That alone should have Cleveland a little worried.
12) Larry Nance, Jr. - KEEP
He does a little bit of everything for this team. Rebounding, scoring, dishing the ball. He brings a lot of length to both the PF and C spots, and he's a guy that the team clearly loves to have around. He's here another few years with his current contract, and he is someone the Cavs should work hard to keep around.
13) Kevin Porter, Jr. - KEEP
The rookie was showing just how much better he has gotten before he got hurt, and should be able to pick up where he left off upon his return. He can knock down the J and break down a number of defenders with his handles. His length allows him to defend the perimeter well, and he's going to be a strong player for this team moving forward.
14) Dylan Windler - KEEP (Unless next year goes awry)
His rookie season ended before it began, and it's really too bad. He is known for his shooting ability, having been comparable to Ian Clark (who made 340 threes at Belmont) in his college days. He's 6'9 and long, and should give them some shooting next season. And though he had no injuries to show for prior to this year, they may want to give up if injuries hinder him again next year.
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