Cavs insider Chris Fedor explained Cleveland’s thought process on a recent appearance on the Please Don’t Aggregate This podcast.
“The Cavs believe this player is available,” Fedor said. “And my sources tell me that he could be had. It’s again at the right price. And it’s a little bit tricky because he’s on a team that’s fourth place currently in the Western Conference. … Tim Hardaway Jr. is somebody that the Cavs have been watching and they’ve been keeping an eye on. And I think if the Cavs have their choice, it would be very, very close. And they’re not going to have their choice. It doesn’t work that way. But if they had their choice, it would be between Bojan [Bogdanovic] and Tim Hardaway Jr.”
Cleveland looks to be interested in adding wing depth for a playoff run in the 2022-23 season, and Hardaway is a player that the team would have beyond this season.
Hardaway’s contract runs through the 2024-25 season, which could be important for the Cavs since Caris LeVert is set to become a free agent following this season. The other benefit to Hardaway’s deal is that his contract is descending, meaning it will cost less in each of the next two seasons.
It’s unclear what the Cavs would give up in a package for the Mavs wing, but Hardaway would give the team some extra shooting alongside Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland. It may take a lot to pry him from Dallas as long as the team is in the playoff race this season in the West.
In the 2022-23 campaign, Hardaway is averaging 13.8 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game. He’s shooting just 38.7 percent from the field, but knocking down a solid 36.2 percent of his shots from beyond the arc.
Last season, a foot injury cost Hardaway significant time, but the Mavericks still made the Western Conference Finals.
It’s possible that Dallas believes in its roster enough to get back there even if it doesn’t have the former first-round pick on the wing. Getting off of the final years of Hardaway’s contract could also give Dallas flexibility to build around Luka Doncic going forward.
The Cavs are 25-15 this season and have the No. 4 spot in the Eastern Conference. They seem ready to go all in on this roster with Mitchell, Garland, Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen leading the way.
Adding another wing scorer like Bogdanovic or Hardaway would make Cleveland’s offense extremely dangerous down the stretch.