The Cleveland Cavaliers may have some difficult decisions to make ahead of Thursday’s NBA trade deadline.
According to a report, the Cavs would likely have to part ways with fourth-year wing Isaac Okoro in order to make any trade of significance.
The 23-year-old, who has spent his entire career with Cleveland, is valued by the organization, but if the Cavs want to make a splash, it sounds like they’re going to have to ask themselves if they’re willing to lose him.
“Sources say if the Cavs are going to make any move of significance, something other than a minor trade for help around the margins, Okoro would likely have to go,” wrote Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com.
“But replacing him, on and off the court, wouldn’t be easy and the Cavs understand that. They like him. They value him. They have invested in him. They aren’t actively shopping him. He is their best point-of-attack defender — the guy who will guard the likes of Jalen Brunson, Jaylen Brown, Damian Lillard, Trae Young, Tyrese Haliburton or even Tyler Herro in a potential playoff matchup. He could be retained summer if his price tag doesn’t inflate.”
Okoro is having a solid season for the Cavs, who are suddenly the No. 2 team in the Eastern Conference with a 32-16 record. Despite some major obstacles, Cleveland has played its best basketball of the season over the past several weeks.
Since the beginning of the day on Dec. 16, the Cavs have played 23 games and posted a record of 19-4. Okoro has played in all 23 of those games, and he’s been very productive along the way, shown in part by shooting clips of 51.2 percent from the field and 40.6 percent from deep during the stretch.
The Cavs may have hesitations about messing with a good thing, as Okoro has clearly helped them create a winning formula lately. But if the organization wants to take a big swing at the deadline, it could mark the end of the line for the former lottery pick in Cleveland.
Overall this season, Okoro is averaging 8.9 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game while shooting 49.6 percent from the field and 38.5 percent from deep. Of course, he has also been an exceptionally valuable defender for the Cavs.
Cleveland has been linked to numerous players around the NBA ahead of the deadline. It’s an important time for the franchise as the Cavs look to take advantage of the special season they’re currently enjoying.