Isaac Okoro added to NBA rumor mill as GM speaks on Cavs wing’s looming free agency

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David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

One NBA general manager recently weighed in on how much money Cleveland Cavaliers forward Isaac Okoro could receive from a team once he hits free agency.

“One general manager who spoke with HoopsHype already believes Okoro can get around $14 million annually –- which would be more than the full non-taxpayer mid-level exception – thanks to his improved 3-point shooting while also being an All-Defensive team candidate, as teammate Donovan Mitchell recently noted,” Michael Scotto wrote.

Scotto also cited five teams — including the Milwaukee Bucks and New York Knicks — who might have interest in trading for Okoro before the Feb. 8 trade deadline.

“With that in mind, Okoro is expected to draw interest at the trade deadline,” he wrote. “The Knicks, [Atlanta] Hawks, [Indiana] Pacers, [Phoenix] Suns and Bucks are all teams to closely monitor as all are known to have interest in acquiring a two-way wing, league sources told HoopsHype.”

The 23-year-old is in his fourth season playing for the Cavaliers organization, who drafted him with the No. 5 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.

Okoro has played in 38 of the Cavaliers’ 47 regular-season games to this point and is averaging 8.8 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game while shooting 49.2 percent from the field and 37.2 percent from 3-point range.

While he has yet to develop into a great offensive player, Okoro has long been one of the best defensive players on the Cavaliers’ roster. Okoro’s performance in a game against the Bucks back on Jan. 26 highlighted his versatility on the defensive end of the floor.

In 31 minutes of playing time, he totaled two blocks and two steals. Okoro didn’t shoot the ball well against the Bucks, however, considering he shot just 1-of-6 from the floor, with his only made basket coming from behind the 3-point line.

Okoro’s defensive chops have contributed to the Cavaliers’ excellent play from a collective standpoint over the last few weeks. The Cavaliers are playing as well as any team in the Eastern Conference right now, as the team is on a five-game winning streak and has picked up wins in nine out of its last 10 games.

The Cavaliers will be gunning for their sixth win in a row when they take on the Sacramento Kings at home on Monday night. The Kings are winners of their last two games and recently earned a victory over the Chicago Bulls on Feb. 3.

Considering how impactful Okoro is for the Cavaliers on the defensive side of the ball and the fact that Cleveland is on a roll right now, it seems like it would be in the team’s best interest to hold onto him past the trade deadline.

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Jesse is a sports journalist with extensive experience covering the NBA. He has worked as a staff writer at SB Nation’s CelticsBlog and The Knicks Wall.