Cavaliers Urged to Trade for Pistons Veteran After Offensive Flaws Exposed

Donovan Mitchell Cleveland Cavaliers

Getty Donovan Mitchell of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Cleveland Cavaliers finished the regular season with the eighth-best offense in professional basketball. It was a strong improvement after the Cavs finished with the 10th-worst offense in 2021-22, a season derailed by injuries to Ricky Rubio, Evan Mobley, and Jarrett Allen.

Cleveland’s offensive rejuvenation came in no small part thanks to Donovan Mitchell‘s arrival and Darius Garland‘s continued ascension as one of the league’s best floor generals. For much of the season, the pair were tasked with carrying the team offensively.

This made developing a defensive strategy to limit the two fairly straightforward for Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau. He sent relentless double-teams at Garland and Mitchell, essentially forcing one of a clunky Allen, an inexperienced Evan Mobley, and inconsistent Isaac Okoro to make a shot.

With the offensive flaws on full display, Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report suggested the Cavs target Detroit Pistons veteran Bojan Bogdanovic via trade this summer to give the team an added offensive dimension.

“Once Mitchell or Garland (or both) hit the bench, Bogdanović could work as an offensive hub in spurts. He isn’t a great passer, but he is a willing one, and he has more off-the-dribble verve than a designated sharpshooter. He can overpower smaller wings in the post and slip past slower bigs on the perimeter,” Buckley wrote after the Cavs were bounced from the playoffs.

The nine-year vet would certainly add experience to a starting five whose average age was roughly 23 years old this season. Bogdanovic is a career 39% shooter from three and his catch-and-shoot game (45.5% from three this season) is tantalizing, especially given the Garland and Mitchell’s co-star’s inability to do the same against New York. By comparison, Okoro made just 30% of his catch-and-shoot threes during the postseason.

Cavaliers Expected to Pursue Wing Upgrade

While Bogdanovic does add some offense to the Cavs’ side, he’s far from the three-and-D threat that Michael Scotto of HoopsHype reported Cleveland would pursue this summer.

As Scotto wrote on April 23, Cleveland is one of several teams that will look to bring in an upgrade on the wing, with eyes on a pair of potential Brooklyn Nets outcasts.

“While many rival executives around the league are convinced Bridges isn’t going anywhere, there’s a belief the Nets could break up their surplus of wing depth and trade either Finney-Smith or O’Neale. Various teams around the league, including the Cleveland Cavaliers, are expected to pursue potential 3-and-D wings this summer,” Scotto reported.

If the Cavaliers do pursue a wing upgrade, it could cast a shadow on Okoro’s future in Cleveland. A recent top-five pick, Okoro finished with his best three-point shooting season yet, connecting on 38% of his triples.

But his volume remained the exact same from last season at 2.3 per game. The Knicks were perfectly comfortable leaving him in the corner unmarked, a strategy that worked beautifully for New York.

Isaac Okoro’s Cavs Future Under Scrutiny

According to an Eastern Conference GM, the Cavs are closely monitoring Okoro’s future.

“They are not at a point where they are going to trade (Isaac) Okoro, but they need to figure out what he is for them,” the GM told Heavy Sports’ Sean Deveney during the playoffs. “If there is an opportunity to move him, I don’t think they would mind trying. But they probably give him another year to figure things out.”

Okoro averaged just 6.4 points per game against the Knicks. An ace defender, he still lacks the offensive chops to keep him on the floor in big moments, hence why head coach JB Bickerstaff started Caris LeVert in Game Four of the series against New York.

It may still be too early to give up on Okoro, but he’s certainly one of Cleveland’s lone trade chips after moving significant draft capital for Mitchell last season.

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