Despite a league-wide flurry of trade deadline moves, the Cleveland Cavaliers were one of just two teams not to make any kind of deal before February.
So far, the track record for teams that sat out the deadline isn’t great; the Chicago Bulls dropped out of the playoffs altogether in the play-in tournament, and the Cavaliers became the first Eastern Conference team of the playoffs to lose to a team with a lower seed on Saturday, falling to the New York Knicks 101-97.
But the lack of a deal didn’t stop Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report from suggesting a slew of trades that playoff teams might wish they’d made with the postseason in full swing. Buckley proposed the Cavaliers address a clear need on the wing in a trade that drains some bench depth and whatever remaining draft assets Cleveland has after the Donovan Mitchell blockbuster from last summer.
Here’s what Buckley suggested:
Cleveland Cavaliers receive: Kelly Oubre Jr.
Charlotte Hornets receive: Cedi Osman, Dylan Windler, 2023 second-round pick (via GSW), 2026 second-round pick, and 2026 second-round pick (via LAL)
“Oubre does a little of everything other than pass, but Cleveland could live with that weakness, since it already squeezes more than a dozen dimes per night out of the Mitchell-Garland combo. Oubre’s athleticism and activity could perk up the Cavs’ transition attack, and they could use more pep in their step after finishing 24th in fast-break scoring,” Buckley wrote.
Oubre’s name should be a familiar one for Cavs fans.
Kelly Oubre Linked to the Cavaliers in January
Back in January, NBA insider Marc Stein reported that the Cavaliers, Suns, and Raptors all had an interest in acquiring the Hornets’ wing.
“Cleveland, Phoenix and Toronto had been circulating as teams that had trade interest in the Hornets’ Kelly Oubre Jr. until Oubre was forced to undergo left hand surgery this week expected to sideline him for four-to-six weeks,” Stein reported.
Despite a hand injury around the trade deadline that might have cooled league interest in Oubre, the former Kansas Jayhawk finished the season on a high note. In 13 post-All-Star appearances, Oubre shot 46.2% from the field and averaged 20.5 points per night.
He simply offers a higher offensive ceiling than Isaac Okoro does at the moment, while also not coughing up too much defensively á la Caris LeVert.
JB Bickerstaff Sounds Off on Isaac Okoro’s ‘Frustration’
Speaking of Okoro, the Cavs’ starting wing took the floor for the first time since March on Saturday. Okoro had previously missed time with knee soreness, a source of frustration for the player down the season’s stretch.
“There is frustration and for all the right reasons,” Bickerstaff said after beating the Magic, per Kelsey Russo of The Athletic. “You know Isaac and where his intent is and where his heart is, like all he wants to do is be on the floor, competing with his teammates. And he takes pride in his ability to be available. So it is frustrating for him. He keeps a pretty even spirit all the time. So he knows how to engage his teammates, keep it light, still show his support, but you know on the inside, it’s eating him up.”
The Cavaliers will be back in action Tuesday night, looking to right the ship after dropping Game One to New York.