The Cleveland Cavaliers are in a unique position right now. This is a team fully capable of contending in the Eastern Conference, and they're doing it with a deep roster that's short on star power.
Yes, Donovan Mitchell is obviously the kind of high-profile name that moves the needle, but he's not a lone force propelling this team upward.
Through great drafting, savvy signings and terrific player development, the Cavs have built such a well-rounded roster that most teams simply wouldn't have the salary cap room to do the same. This group is loaded with talent on team-friendly deals, and while that window will close in a few years, it means that the time to really make a push as contenders is now.
Here's a look at the three most underpaid Cavs players who are allowing the franchise the flexibility it needs to build a championship team.
3 Cavaliers Whose Contracts Are Steals
1. Evan Mobley
Let's get the easy pick out of the way. I know Evan Mobley was your first thought when you read the headline, but let's go through the exercise anyway here.
Mobley is just 21 years old and has already finished third in Defensive Player of the Year voting. Defense can always be hard to quantify with stats, but Mobley's a guy whose impact clearly goes beyond the numbers. He didn't put up the blocks and steals of a guy like Jaren Jackson Jr., but his 4.8 Defensive Win Shares blew away Jackson Jr. (3.8) and second-place Brook Lopez (3.9). He was also right up there in Defensive Box Plus-Minus (1.6, to Jackson Jr.'s 2.0 and Lopez's (1.3)
Even if we decide to, for the sake of argument, say that Mobley isn't quite the defender that JJJ is (yet), his current contract is an absolute steal for the league's second-best defender (I don't care what the voting said about Lopez).
Jackson Jr. gets about $25 million a year with $104 million guaranteed on his four-year deal. Mobley is making just under $9 million this year and a little over $11 million next year playing on the team option from his rookie contract.
We could be looking at his salary tripling (at least) from this 2023-24 number by the time we extend him, so let's just enjoy this contract while we can.