The Cleveland Cavaliers will enter the 2019-20 season still in the early stages of a massive rebuilding project that will undoubtedly reshape the roster for both this season and beyond.
One Cavaliers insider indicates that there are a number of top candidates who may be dealt by February’s trade deadline.
Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com answered questions on different topics, with one fan asking about exactly who is most likely to be sent to another team.
“The Cavs have a few trade candidates,” Fedor said. “It starts with the players on expiring contracts. There are five of them: Jordan Clarkson, Tristan Thompson, Matthew Dellavedova, John Henson and Brandon Knight.
“The Cavs have to weigh a few different things with each. First, they need to identify which players, if any, could stay beyond this year on lesser, more team-friendly deals. None of those five are considered core pieces.
“But that doesn’t mean they don’t have value to the organization. Then, the Cavs have to determine if that value — on the floor and off — is meaningful enough to resist dealing them away for future assets. After doing that, the Cavs have to identify which can bring back the most in return.
“In terms of that, I’d rank it this way: Clarkson, Thompson, Henson, Dellavedova and Knight.
“Around the deadline, contending teams will be trying to find cheap help. While some of these salary numbers are high, including Thompson’s $18.5 million, the acquiring team will be able to use him for a playoff push and not limit off-season salary flexibility because he’s essentially a rental. Plus, the trade cost wouldn’t be exorbitant.
“The Cavs would likely just want a draft pick or two, probably settling for a pair of second-rounders unless they are willing to take back a bad contract, just like they did with Milwaukee (Dellavedova and Henson) and Houston (Knight), getting the return bumped to a first-round pick.”
Clarkson is coming off the best season of his NBA career and only turned 27 in June. He’s set to make $13.4 million this season and if he’s able to match or improve on last year’s numbers, his price tag is likely to jump out of the Cavaliers’ range.
Thompson is now 28 and has had two consecutive injury-plagued years. His 2019-20 salary isn’t really justified by his lack of scoring (9.2 career average), which undoubtedly means that the Cavs will not be offering him a similar extension.
Henson, who turns 29 in December, is in the unique position of having never played for the team after being acquired last December. Injuries kept him off the court, while his mediocre career statistical numbers of 7.8 points and 5.4 rebounds per game make his $9.7 million contract for this year a luxury the Cavaliers don’t need.
The 29-year-old Dellavedova remains a fan favorite in Cleveland, though his $9.6 million salary for the upcoming campaign isn’t too popular with the front office. He provides plenty of veteran leadership, but has career numbers of just 6.0 points and 3.7 assists per game.
Finally, Knight was once the eighth overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. However, injuries have largely robbed the 27-year-old veteran of his best attributes, with his 27 games with the Cavs resulting in averages of 8.5 points, 2.3 assists and 1.9 rebounds per game. Numbers like that make the costly expense of his $15.6 million contract this year something the team won’t come close to offering after next next season.
Since nearly five months remain until the trade deadline, there’s no rush to deal any of the players. The Cavaliers will simply wait and hope some team makes an inviting offer at some point.