It seems like a while ago that the Cavaliers were in the Finals competing for championships. Although it hasn’t been that long, only a few years ago, only Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson remain relevant from the contending Cavaliers teams.
Gone are the days where LeBron James ran the show all game long while Kyrie took and made the big shots. Love fed off those two superstar players and was always a factor with his shooting and rebounding. Thompson was the main man on the boards and provided defensive resistance to any player attacking the paint.
Now, the Cavs are forced to rebuild now that both James and Irving are gone. They have had a losing record ever since, and have collected some nice young players. The next step for them is to trade the dead weight and move anybody who will actually help them win games. They must continue to tank, create cap space, and acquire picks. Here are the players that must be moved by the Cavaliers this season.
Kevin Love is the only star player remaining from their championship core. He is still a very capable player, averaging around 15 and 10 for a very poor team at the moment. The Cavaliers must move Love now, in order to get the maximum return for him before he begins to age and his production starts to dip.
The idea is simple: the Cavs need to clear cap space as much as possible for a player that will put up good numbers without contributing to their long-term rebuilding process which includes tanking. Love is a win-now player who needs to be on a winning team in order to provide any sort of value.
Tristan Thompson is an old school center who defends the rim, rebounds very well, and uses his body to box out the opposition and make rim runs on the other end. As a matter of fact, Thompson is one of the best offensive rebounders in the league right now. His value is probably at his highest right now, and the Cavs must take advantage of his value by trading him as soon as possible.
Not to mention, Thompson is a free agent next year which can actually clear the cap space that the Cavs desire. But they can trade him right now to actually attain some assets instead of simply losing him for nothing next summer. Any team needing an active big who rebounds and defends will be in the market for Thompson, especially if he is on an expiring contract which gives them flexibility.
The Cavs need to move on from Jordan Clarkson, who is not getting any younger and will soon be a free agent. An expiring contract is useful for the Cavaliers right now, but not if the player still has some value. Clarkson is an energizer off the bench and can score 15+ ppg for any team. He has probably reached his ceiling as a player, so the Cavs can move him as soon as possible in order to maximize the value they get from him instead of losing him for nothing.
Clarkson can provide instant scoring for a team needing some more points on the board, or for teams that still find hope that Clarkson becomes a star quality player in the right system. Either way, Clarkson has pretty good trade value across the league.
Delly was a Cavalier fan favorite during the Cavaliers Finals run and provided LeBron James with a tough and hard-nosed defender vs Stephen Curry and the Warriors. Dellavedova also hit big shots in the Finals, keeping the Cavaliers in games where they should be getting blown out since both Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love were injured for the series.
Since then, Dellavedova found a home in Milwaukee before eventually returning back to the Cavaliers. For the time being, Delly does not fit the Cavaliers system at all. He is a role player who is expected to contribute on teams needing point guard play and defensive steel, not for teams that are tanking and want to give their own young players time to grow.
Delly should be moved as he will also be a free agent and the Cavs can get something in return for him at the moment instead of letting him walk for free. Certain teams needed point guard depth include the Phoenix Suns, Milwaukee Bucks, and Orlando Magic.
Brandon Knight was looking like an All-Star player at some point with the Suns, but injuries and a seeming lack of confidence from his team’s management have left him jumping from team to team. Knight has talent but seems to be a player that will never recover from the physical toll of his injuries.
There still might be a market out there for Knight, and the Cavs should move on from him to prevent him from leaving them with no asset return. Rather, Cleveland should try to get as much as possible in return for Knight including first and second-round picks if possible. Since he hasn’t played up to his potential the past few seasons, the Cavs might just have to accept what they can get.