Report: Cavs snagged Knicks’ No. 1 target in 2023 NBA free agency

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Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Cavaliers wing Max Strus was a wanted man this past offseason.

Strus elevated his stock during his three seasons with the Miami Heat, and by the time he became a free agent in the 2023 offseason, multiple teams wanted his services.

The Cavaliers ultimately acquired him through a sign-and-trade transaction with the Heat and San Antonio Spurs, allowing Cleveland to successfully land its rumored No. 1 target in free agency. But the Cavs apparently weren’t the only ones who had Strus as their No. 1 target, as the New York Knicks reportedly also had him atop their wish list.

Strus landed a four-year deal worth well over $60 million with the Cavs upon joining the organization. Barring some sort of trade or similar transaction, he’s set to play with Cleveland through the 2026-27 campaign.

In his first season with the Cavs, the 27-year-old is averaging 13.1 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game while shooting 39.6 percent from the field and 33.8 percent from beyond the arc.

Strus has been an impactful player for the squad, starting in all 38 of his appearances this season, but there’s certainly room for him to improve, particularly from an efficiency standpoint. During his three seasons with the Heat, he shot 42.7 percent from the field and 37.1 percent from deep, both significantly higher marks than his shooting clips this season.

Still, the Cavs are enjoying a successful 2023-24 campaign so far, even with the injury bug biting them in more ways than one. Cleveland currently owns the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference with a 23-15 record and is riding a five-game winning streak.

There seems to be a belief in the scouting world that it’s best to stay away from Heat role players if they’re leaving the Miami organization, but Strus is looking to prove to the Cavs that they made the right choice by bringing him in.

The sharpshooter has some solid playoff experience under his belt thanks to his time in South Florida, and he’ll look to help Cleveland find some postseason success in 2024 after the squad fizzled out in the first round of the 2023 NBA Playoffs.

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Jason has covered the NBA for multiple years and is very excited about the future of the Cleveland Cavaliers.