Cavaliers Urged to Bring Back ‘Intriguing’ Summer Free Agent After Trade Speculation

Caris LeVert Cleveland Cavaliers

Getty LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers controls the ball against Caris LeVert of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

One member of the Cleveland Cavaliers faced rampant speculation ahead of the February trade deadline: Caris LeVert. Despite earning over $18 million this season, the 28-year-old wing isn’t a starter in Cleveland.

And that salary combined with playing time was a major reason why LeVert was on the trade block; the Cavs could seemingly use his expiring contract to match salaries in order to bring back a more established, consistent presence on the wing.

Alas, the Cavs didn’t move LeVert. In fact, the team didn’t make a single trade, joining the Chicago Bulls as the only NBA franchises to sit out the deadline entirely.

And according to Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report, the Cavs should seriously explore bringing LeVert back next season, a player Swartz deemed “intriguing.”

“While LeVert is far from a perfect player or fit on this roster that needs three-and-D wings between its talented front and backcourts, the Cavs simply can’t let his salary slot go to waste, especially after buying out Kevin Love,” Swartz wrote on March 20.

LeVert is averaging 11.9 points and 4.0 assists this season for the Cavaliers.

Cavs ‘Interested’ in Reuniting with LeVert

Swartz’s commentary comes amidst reports that the Cavaliers want to bring LeVert back this summer.

“A free agent at the end of the year, the Cavs are interested in bringing him back on a multi-year deal — at the right price,” Chris Fedor reported recently for “They like him. They value him. He is one of their trusted high-minute guys — a staple of Bickerstaff’s nightly rotation.”

Fedor went so far as to suggest LeVert departing in free agency would be a real shock.

“Given everything, at this point, LeVert not returning would be a surprise,” Fedor concluded.

While LeVert is far from a consistent player, he’s inarguably a luxury off the bench. He’s likely to make $17.5 million next season, per Spotrac, which would put the Cavs on the path toward the luxury tax.

But as Fedor noted, the Cavs are interested if the price is right. It wasn’t long ago that the Cavs sat on Collin Sexton‘s extension because the two sides were far apart in negotiations. Could the same happen again this summer with LeVert?

It’s difficult to imagine who the Cavaliers would fill LeVert’s space with. Upcoming free agent Gary Trent, Jr. is an intriguing option, slated to make roughly the same as LeVert, though the current Raptor is averaging 17.7 points on 37% shooting from three this season.

Cavs Zeroing in on Playoff Opponent

According to the same report from Fedor, the Cavs have apparently settled on their preferred playoff opponent.

“No one inside the organization would say this publicly — and they shouldn’t. But multiple people I’ve spoken to recently are privately hoping for a Brooklyn matchup,” Fedor reported.

While the Nets are loaded with wing defenders capable of hanging with Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell, they lack the size inside to bang with Jarrett Allen (a former Net himself) and Evan Mobley.

While that may be the Cavs’ preferred opponent, the likelier candidate is Brooklyn’s crosstown rival the New York Knicks.

Already slated as the “Donovan Mitchell Bowl,” a matchup with the Knicks would be an intriguing referendum on Cleveland’s blockbuster deal for Mitchell and the Knicks’ decision to pass on the All-Star this summer.