The Cleveland Cavaliers are now built to win and that puts a clock on Isaac Okoro
The Cleveland Cavaliers have done something rather miraculous in acquiring Donovan Mitchell. They not only jumped into title contention but jumped into title contention with a really young squad. All of the critical guys are way under 30 with Mitchell being the oldest of the core at 26. This puts the Cavs in a great place to compete for long-term NBA glory, but that does mean that everyone has to be on the same level now, which poses an issue for Isaac Okoro.
Okoro is arguably the best Cavs defender on the perimeter but is so bad offensively that he’s a liability on the other side of the court. Before the Mitchell trade, you could give him time to develop, find his shot and become a reliable, if underwhelming, offensive weapon.
After the Mitchell trade, however, the Cavs can no longer allow projects the time needed to develop. If you can’t actively improve the team right now, then the team should move on from you. So how close is Okoro to being ready as a two-way player?
It doesn’t appear very close, and if that’s the case, how long can the Cavs realistically hold on to him?
The Cleveland Cavaliers have to decide on trading Isaac Okoro by the deadline
The latest the Cavs can realistically hang on to Okoro before being forced to do something with him is the NBA Trade Deadline for the 2022-2023 season. Okoro’s value is still fairly high as a project player, and his defensive skillset should make him a fairly attractive player. Right now he doesn’t really have a place in the rotation, other than as a defensive specialist.
If he can’t develop a jumper, then Okoro may lose that spot as well, especially with the return of defensive standout Ricky Rubio and the emergence of Dean Wade and Lamar Stevens.
Holding onto Okoro past this year’s trade deadline will end up hurting his value more than trading him earlier would. If Okoro can’t find his shot throughout this season, then it’ll be obvious that the team will have to move on from him. He’ll be entering his fourth year in the league, which also means deciding on what to do with his player option.
With how this team is currently built, guys like Okoro and Dylan Windler, really don’t have much value to the team outside of trade packages. The Cavs need to really get the most out of them, especially with a deep run in the playoffs being expected, the team has to milk every asset for all they’re worth.
Okoro and Windler might become starters in the NBA one day, but with the trajectory, the team is now on and the lack of production Okoro and Windler are becoming known for, the team has to flip them for usable assets that fit the team’s new timeline and level of expectations.
It may not make Okoro fans happy, but at this point in time, the best move is to trade Okoro for a young vet who can be an effective two-way player.
Now, if Okoro finds his shot before the trade deadline, then disregard this.