The Cleveland Cavaliers spent this offseason just replacing players they didn’t need to part with.
The entire 2023 offseason for the Cleveland Cavaliers has been them trying to unfix the deficiencies created by the Donovan Mitchell trade of 2022 and the boneheaded decision to release Kevin Love. To be clear, this isn’t a knock on Mitchell, it’s just an acknowledgment that the Cavs lost some key pieces in that trade. But maybe the worst of it is letting go of Love, who the Cavs are still trying to replace.
So far this offseason, the Cavs acquired Max Strus, Georges Niang, Damian Jones, Ty Jerome, and rookies Emoni Bates and Craig Porter Jr.
They’re trying to replace Collin Sexton, Lauri Markkanen, Ochai Agbajia, and of course Love. But did they accomplish that? Let’s take a closer look.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are attempting to replace what they lost last season
On a one-to-one comparison, no, the Cavs didn’t replace the players they lost, but they did try. They deserve credit for that. Strus is the fill-in for Markkanen, despite being a good six inches shorter, and not nearly as good of a shooter, inside player, or defender. You can’t replace Markkanen, as he’s arguably a Top 25 player in the NBA at the moment.
Niang was acquired to try and replace Love. Niang is four inches shorter, a worse rebounder but a better shooter. Granted, on fewer attempts but Niang had better percentages from the three-point line in every season since 2018-2019, when Niang became a full-time rotation piece.
Bates will try and replace Sexton’s ability to score buckets from anywhere and any time, but Sexton, even with the ACL concerns, was a much better option than Bates. Bates has a lot of work to do and may not even make the team. He’ll likely feature on the Cleveland Charge this year, making him a poor replacement for Sexton. Bates also falls into the “Agbaji replacement” too, the unknown rookie commodity type.
As for Jones and Jerome, as mentioned in another article, they’re not supposed to replace anyone the Cavs lost last off-season. They’re supposed to replace Robin Lopez and Raul Neto.
The Cavs can’t replace Markkanen, Love, or Sexton but they can try to make sure the team is better for the 2024 playoffs than it was in 2023. On paper, they are at least better there. They should be a better team, even though they did lose Cedi Osman and Lamar Stevens in their quest to get “better”. So are they better without those two?
It’s hard to say, but it seems like every time the Cavs make a move, they create a hole. It’s like digging one hole to fill another. Yes, that hole is filled, but all you’ve done is created a new hole to fill. The Cavs now have to replace Osman and Stevens, and in the case of Osman, may have been the better option for the team than Strus.
Which, if that idea pans out and gets proven, it would just create another hole for the Cavs to fill, as well as an unmovable contract.
- Published on 07/07/2023 at 18:00 PM
- Last updated at 07/07/2023 at 18:00 PM