The Athletic’s David Aldridge believes that the Cleveland Cavaliers have had the second-best offseason in the NBA this summer.
Cleveland made several moves this offseason, adding two key shooters to the roster after the team struggled from beyond the arc in the first round of the playoffs against the New York Knicks last season.
Cleveland acquired sharpshooter Max Strus from the Miami Heat in a sign-and-trade deal, giving up Lamar Stevens and Cedi Osman in the process.
The team also signed former Philadelphia 76ers sharpshooter Georges Niang to a three-year deal. Last season for Philly, Niang appeared in 78 games, making one start and playing 19.4 minutes per game. He averaged 8.2 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.0 assist per game while shooting 44.2 percent from the field and an impressive 40.1 percent from 3-point range.
“Quality work by GM Koby Altman and crew, zeroing in on exactly what plagued their team in its first-round loss to New York — horrendous shooting (32.7 percent) from deep — and adding two quality marksmen in Strus and Niang at very decent market values,” Aldridge wrote. “Strus in particular should provide player movement regardless of how well he’s shooting, a necessity in a half-court offense that bogged down into awful possessions against New York, leaving Donovan Mitchell or Darius Garland to try and create against a walled-up defense. Yes, Cleveland’s frontcourt got bludgeoned on the glass by the Knicks. But good on the Cavs as well for not having a recency bias reaction to Jarrett Allen’s poor series. Neither he nor Evan Mobley played well against the Knicks, but both deserve another postseason opportunity to show what they learned from the experience.”
Those were the team’s two big offseason additions, but the Cavs also added Ty Jerome, Damian Jones and second-round pick Emoni Bates to the squad.
It also has to be mentioned that the team brought back wing Caris LeVert, who was one of the team’s best players in the 2022-23 season. LeVert appeared in 74 games last season, making 30 starts for the Cavs. He averaged 12.1 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game while shooting 43.1 percent from the field and an impressive 39.2 percent from the 3-point line.
The Cavs were recently projected by ESPN to finish in third place in the Eastern Conference in the 2023-24 season, ahead of the Knicks, Heat and Sixers. That would be a great accomplishment for a Cleveland team that made the playoffs last season for the first time since LeBron James left for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Time will tell if the Cavs’ offseason moves truly pay off, but it seems as though Cleveland has fixed one of its biggest weaknesses from last season.
With Mitchell, Garland, Allen and Mobley all coming back as well, this young core is primed to take a leap in the 2023-24 campaign.