With the trade deadline officially here, the Cleveland Cavaliers have been largely quiet. Aside from whispered interests in nearly every available wing, the Cavs have yet to make any concrete decisions.
And according to Sean Deveney of Heavy Sports, there’s a reason why: the Cavs’ front office isn’t in total agreement about the path forward.
“While some in the franchise want to be aggressive at the Thursday deadline, the prevailing thought is that this is still a team in development and that patience, especially with an asset like [Isaac] Okoro, is needed,” Deveney wrote.
According to one source who spoke with Deveney, the Cavs are resigned to the fact that most deals for a wing upgrade would have to involve Okoro, a recent lottery pick who is generating some interest around the league.
“‘A lot of teams like him,’ one Eastern Conference executive told Deveney. ‘But he has been up and down. When he is good, it looks like he plays with some confidence, and with him, it is more about confidence and ability at this point.'”
Okoro, the No. 5 pick in the 2020 NBA draft, has yet to make good on his potential. The former Auburn wing has shown flashes — he’s up to 47.2% from three over his last 13 games — he’s failed to capitalize with any consistency — he was shooting 30% from three prior to that 13-game stretch.
It would certainly make sense for Okoro to nonetheless have interest around the league. If confidence truly is the issue, he might thrive in a lower-stakes situation away from a Cavs team eyeing a deep playoff run.
Okoro’s own stats back up that notion. In his rookie season, he attempted nearly 8.5 points per game, a sign of his confidence at the time. Over his past two seasons, though, that figure has plummeted to 6.4 and 4.5.
Part of that might be the emergence of Darius Garland last year and Donovan Mitchell’s arrival this year, taking away opportunities. But teams interested in Okoro could likely talk themselves into that once-confident shot-taker.
Cavs Ready to Pounce on Post-Durant Nets
If the Cavs do make a move to upgrade or add depth to the wing spot, the Cavs might explore a move involving the post-Kevin Durant Brooklyn Nets.
One player the Cavs are interested in is veteran swingman Royce O’Neale, per Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com.
“O’Neale is viewed as an ideal fit — the kind of help-now, playoff-tested piece that could change the team’s trade stance,” Fedor reported early on February 9. “For a variety of reasons, he is a more appealing option than the other players the Cavs have been linked to over the last few weeks.”
O’Neale is averaging 9.4 points on 40.3% from three this season, making him a solid pickup for Cleveland.
Fedor also noted that O’Neale is a former teammate of Cavs star Donovan Mitchell, adding that the two are close friends.
Cleveland Eyeing Wing Move Before Deadline?
Though the Cavs’ front office might be split on a decision regarding a trade, it hasn’t stopped the rumors from flowing over the last few weeks.
But the Cavs’ slowness to make a deal might have worked against them so far, with the rest of the league having already started making moves for previously-linked Cavs targets.
Some of the options the Cavaliers were previously eyeing were Josh Hart, Cam Reddish, and Malik Beasley. All are now with new teams, so if the Cavs do want to make a move, they’ll have to change course with a guy like O’Neale.
As a long life Cavs fan making no trades might prove detrimental to this team because of lack of consistent play from certain players,You can’t be putting up 20 plus points in one game and 3 games total later you average 8 points and expect to go anywhere.