The Cleveland Cavaliers have a trade asset in Caris LeVert.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are going to make a trade, or at least try to, over the coming weeks. The trade deadline is fast approaching the Cavs are a bit light on strong two-way small forwards at the moment. Dean Wade is a nice asset in this area but he’s not the most creative scorer, which limits him offensively. Isaac Okoro is even less offensively inclined, though he’s been a player better as of late.
Another wing player that the Cavs have trotted out hoping for some sort of relief is Caris LeVert. LeVert hasn’t been a good offensive scorer for the Cavs since his arrival. His offensive box plus-minus is -2.2, and his offensive RAPTOR score is a -1.1.
He’s not a bad player, by any means. This has to be stressed. The problem is, he’s a ball-in-hand type of player, and the Cavs are using him more of a natural pull-up shooter, which isn’t his bag. When he’s not able to create and drive to the rim, his scoring and efficiency drop.
Due to how often the Cavs are having him shoot threes, and due to how little he’s allowed to challenge at the rim, his game has become stunted. So trading him makes sense for that reason alone, but another reason is the nice salary he has. It’s an expiring contract, and it’s a big enough one that it can bring back a higher-salary player.
So he has plenty of value, which we’ve seen saying since he came to Cleveland. Chris Fedor, on his Wine and Gold Podcast (via Hoops Hype), revealed that the NBA as a whole not only agrees with us but sees him as the biggest trade chip the Cavs have, saying;
"I’ve talked to a few different people around the NBA, and they believe that Caris LeVert is the best asset that the Cavs have in terms of a trade because he can help teams right now. And he can also help their salary because he’s an expiring contract. And beyond that, his salary number matches a lot of guys that are perceived to be available around the NBA."
Caris Levert isn’t a problem for the Cleveland Cavaliers, he’s just not a fit
I didn’t like the LeVert trade because it meant losing Ricky Rubio. When the Cavs re-signed Rubio back, I was very ok with the trade. Especially since the Cavs literally got LeVert for nothing. The first-round pick was reverted back to the Cavs, as was Rubio in a sense. That first-round pick went to Utah for Donovan Mitchell and things worked out.
The Cavs ended up getting LeVert with the idea he could create to a degree as Rubio did, but that was a tall task for anyone to do. LeVert is a player I’ve always liked, dating back to his time in Brooklyn when he had Jarrett Allen and Spencer Dinwiddie as their core. I liked that trio a lot, and there’s a part of me that would love to see them all come together in Cleveland to win a title.
Sadly, that’s a luxury wish that makes little sense. The Cavs need a wing like a Gordon Hayward, someone who can play physical defense and shoot well from the perimeter. That’s just not LeVert.