The four we’d end up keeping after some debate
Right now the Cavs have some interesting pieces like Lamar Stevens, Cedi Osman, Kevin Love, Dean Wade, and others, but of the remaining members of the team, who are the four that would end up getting protected? Well, I think like with Darius Garland, Evan Mobley, Jarrett Allen, and Collin Sexton, everyone who gets protected should be equal parts talented and equal parts assets. Their value should not be in dispute.
That’s why we’re starting with Lauri Markkanen. He’s a 7’0 who can play three positions on the court and has an incredible ability to stretch the court. He struggled in the first part of the year, but you could argue there was no better shooter after he returned from his injury later in the year. He’s young, has a relatively team-friendly deal, and would be a valuable asset on the court or off.
Then we go to Cedi Osman, granted not the best of these four players but he’s got a contract that’s under team control for the next two years, and his price drops each year. He’s a jack of all trades small forward, who is best suited with the ball in his hands, facilitating the offense. He plays like a more athletic Hedo Turkoglu and should be utilized as such.
Next up is Caris LeVert, who while I’m not overly a fan of in our system, he’s too good to lose for free. LeVert is someone that is best suited in a trade package to bolster the Cavaliers in 2022-2023 but if the team can’t bring back Sexton or Ricky Rubio, it’s likely the team keeps him and lets him walk in free agency. Yet, if the draft was today, you would not want to lose him for nothing.
Lastly is Kevin Love, who while is the last one selected to protect, isn’t done so lightly. As a talent, he’s still very good and provides a lot to the team. The reason why you wouldn’t protect is that the expansion teams aren’t really going to be too interested in selecting a 34-year-old forward, with an injury history, and a hefty contract. He’s likely to not want to play in that situation and would pull a BJ Armstrong and demand a trade. Yet, I think Love is too good to leave unprotected, and the talent you’re leaving unprotected aren’t exactly guys you can’t replace.
The other four: Kevin Love, Caris LeVert, Lauri Markkanen, Cedi Osman