Despite being in fifth place in the Eastern Conference, it seems like the Cleveland Cavaliers need to upgrade their roster if they’re serious about being true contenders in the East this season.
While they are very talented and led by stars like Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland, some small changes are definitely needed.
The team has been linked to plenty of players ahead of the trade deadline, and Cavs insider Evan Dammarell recently explained that Josh Hart of the Portland Trail Blazers, Luke Kennard of the Los Angeles Clippers and Josh Richardson of the San Antonio Spurs are all in play for the Cavs.
“Given the context of how the Cavaliers can only really work with [Caris] LeVert, [Cedi] Osman and some picks, it makes it tricky to figure out the top three realistic trade targets,” Dammarell began. “In the past, Right Down Euclid has reported that players like Josh Hart, Josh Richardson, Luke Kennard and even Malik Beasley are all names worth watching. Marc Stein reported that Tim Hardaway Jr. and Stein’s co-host Chris Haynes said that Cam Reddish are both names worth monitoring in regard to Cleveland. As we’re a few days away, I’ve combed around the league to figure out who is really in play for the Cavaliers. Sure, none of them are the permanent answer at small forward. Nevertheless, here’s the list:
“1. Josh Hart (Trending towards very likely he’s a Cavalier at this point.)
“2. Luke Kennard (Clippers want to unload his salary and he’s not viewed as a consistent member in the LA rotation.)
“3. Josh Richardson (Gives you the same thing Hardaway does at a lot less, plays defense and the Spurs want to trade him.)”
Hart was linked to the Cavs as recently as Saturday, and it’s interesting to note that he’s trending toward becoming a Cavs player, according to Dammarell.
The 27-year-old would be a solid addition for Cleveland at small forward, as he is recording 9.5 points, 8.2 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game this season while making 50.1 percent of his shots from the field. He has struggled with his 3-point shot (29.6 percent shooting clip), but he’s a decent shooter from deep for his career (34.3 percent).
Kennard has also been linked to the Cavs this season. He’s got a smaller role with the Clippers this season, and it seems like they may be willing to deal him away. The Duke University product is recording 8.2 points and 2.5 rebounds per game this season while shooting a blistering 45.3 percent from 3-point range.
The former first-round pick would help the Cavs with his shooting, but he’s not that great of a defender. However, in a lineup alongside Mitchell, who’s improved on defense this season, Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen, the Cavs might be able to hide Kennard a bit on that side of the ball.
As for Richardson, he’s another interesting player to consider. As a 3-and-D wing, he could provide the Cavs with a veteran presence in a pretty young starting lineup.
He’s recording 11.4 points, 2.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game this season while shooting 44.6 percent from the field and 36.4 percent from beyond the arc.
With the clock ticking and time running out, it will be interesting to see if the Cavs make any notable changes before the Feb. 9 deadline.