The Cleveland Cavaliers are starting to explore the trade market with the deadline approaching and an interesting name the team has been linked to is veteran Charlotte Hornets forward Kelly Oubre.
The Cavs were cited as one of the teams eyeing a trade for Oubre by veteran NBA reporter Marc Stein, although the interest came before he underwent successful surgery for a torn ligament in his left hand.
“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.”
While he’s had the surgery, Oubre is expected to return this season and could still be a piece Cleveland looks at near the deadline — possibly at a discounted price considering the injury.
Oubre would likely be a one-year rental for any team interested, seeing as he’s on the final year of a two-year deal he signed with Charlotte in 2021. Prior to the injury, he was averaging a career-high 20.2 points on 42.1 percent shooting and 5.1 rebounds.
The Cavs are averaging 29.3 points from their bench this season, which puts them 27th in the league. Adding a veteran wing like Oubre could do wonders for the unit as the Cavs eye a deep playoff run.
Cavs Could Deal Caris LeVert to Make Deal Happen
The Cavs have limited trade assets after making a blockbuster deal for Donovan Mitchell this offseason and grabbing Caris LeVert last February.
And in fact, it may be LeVert — who is making just shy of $19 million a year — that the Cavs look to move in a deal for Oubre or any other player. Chris Fedor recently disclosed on his Wine and Gold Podcast that LeVert is viewed around the league as the most valuable chip Cleveland has in a potential trade.
“I’ve talked to a few different people around the NBA, and they believe that Caris LeVert is the best asset that the Cavs have in terms of a trade because he can help teams right now,” Fedor said. “And he can also help their salary because he’s an expiring contract. And beyond that, his salary number matches a lot of guys that are perceived to be available around the NBA.”
While the Cavs value LeVert as a locker-room presence, he has become more expendable with the arrival of Mitchell. LeVert is averaging 12.4 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists this season.
Cavs Suitor for Pistons’ Bojan Bogdanovic
Another option that has been floated for the Cavs ahead of the deadline is Pistons forward Bojan Bogdanovic. Cleveland is interested in Bogdanovic, per Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, but he’s uncertain the Cavs could meet the asking price.
“The Cavaliers are indeed a Bogdanovic suitor, sources said, but it will be rather difficult, and perhaps impossible, for Cleveland to reach Detroit’s lofty asking price for the veteran sharpshooter,” Fischer wrote on January 5.
The Cavaliers are currently 25-15, which is good for fourth in a heated race in the Eastern Conference. While the team has some holes, any move will be very carefully analyzed considering that the team has already shown some significant upside under their current construction.