It would be such a feel good story for the Cleveland Cavaliers, wouldn’t it?
And for the fans, too, right?
All respect to Stephen A., but LeBron James will not be appearing on this list.
Nonetheless, there are real holes the Cavaliers should look to fill via trade.
Here are two potential targets:
1. Donovan Mitchell – Utah Jazz
Okay, we’re swinging for the fences right out of the gate.
But why not?
The Cavs need another playmaker/ball handler to take the pressure off of Darius Garland.
Quick caveat: this is a move that should be explored regardless, but genuinely if the Cavaliers have any wavering thoughts of Collin Sexton.
Could Sexton be that reliever for Garland?
Could the Cavs do better?
In Donovan Mitchell, absolutely.
Essentially, the Cavs would get a more efficient and offensively gifted replacement for Sexton.
Mitchell’s roughly 21 PER for the last two seasons have been well above average.
At 15, Webster’s definition of average.
Mitchell is also a better passer than Sexton, capable of playing the one when Garland rests and slotting in as a two when Garland is on the court.
There will be gripes about his defense, especially coming off a rough series against the Mavericks.
And it’s true, Mitchell comes with defensive warts.
But a team shouldn’t be trading Mitchell for that.
And the Cavs certainly wouldn’t.
With Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen sharing the court, the team boasted one of the league’s most stifling defenses.
What’s to say the collective strength of the team wouldn’t mask whatever individual problems Mitchell has?
Others might bemoan Mitchell’s poor clutch stats.
Also a fair point.
But on this Cavs team, would Mitchell have to be the option to close games?
Or could that responsibility fall to Garland?
Perhaps even Allen?
While Mitchell would likely take priority over Allen in late-game situations, he’s not a lock over the other two.
That’s a huge difference from Mitchell’s current situation in Utah.
For the Jazz, Mitchell has to be that guy.
The team can’t rely on Rudy Gobert.
Nor could they really rely on an aging and increasingly-washed looking Mike Conley.
It was all on Mitchell’s shoulders–a heavy weight for the five-year vet.
Oh, and there’s the fact that Mitchell might be angling for a move and that the Utah Jazz could be headed for a DEFCON-I blow up this offseason.
Rudy Gobert is at "him or me" point with Donovan Mitchell and will demand that one of them be traded in next few days, per @realOCsports
“Rudy feels that his own numbers are consistent or getting better, while Don is D liability and is falling off in terms of explosiveness” pic.twitter.com/ilIJRMXX2z
— NBACentral (@TheNBACentral) May 2, 2022
The team could decide that Mitchell is the only long-term fixture for the team.
Or, it could try and leverage his value now and get the most assets in return.
Perhaps a team like that would be willing to take on a Kevin Love contract, Collin Sexton sign-and-trade, and a Hershey’s factory worth of sweeteners.
In the words of Coldplay: nobody said it was easy; also in the words of Coldplay: this [move] could be paradise.
2. De’Anthony Melton – Memphis Grizzlies
Donovan Mitchell is swinging for the fences, but De’Anthony Melton would be a solid double.
If it’s a backup point guard that the Cavs are looking for, they could do significantly worse than the guy who currently serves as Ja Morant’s understudy.
Through the playoffs so far, Melton has made himself an indispensable part of the Grizzlies rotation.
He’s capable of defending multiple positions, including some on the wing.
That would allow the Cavaliers to play with a high level of defense, even when their starters are getting a breather.
His offensive game leaves a little to be desired, but at roughly 15 points/night, a pop like that off the bench wouldn’t hurt.
As hard as it will be for the Cavs to pry Mitchell from the Jazz, snapping up Melton will likely also prove a significant challenge.
De’Anthony Melton finished 8th in voting for Sixth Man of the Year.
This series v Warriors, he’s averaging 8.5pts, 7.5rbs, 2 blks and 2.5stls.
MR. DO SOMETHING 🗣 pic.twitter.com/GjWvfxq066
— KJ (@kelwright) May 4, 2022
Memphis may be less inclined to take on multiple “decent” assets for Melton.
Instead, Memphis might try to shop Melton and a few others to find another star to pair with Morant, Desmond Bane, and Jaren Jackson, Jr.
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