The Cleveland Cavaliers‘ season is now over, and although things are looking up for them after taking a big step forward this year, there is still lots of work to do.
The team has some holes, particularly at the wing position and in terms of 3-point shooting, and many expect president of basketball operations Koby Altman to be aggressive in addressing his squad’s weaknesses.
This offseason won’t offer a very strong free agent class throughout the National Basketball Association, and the Cavs need to be careful about going after the right players on the open court.
Signing the wrong ones could be an impediment to their efforts to become an elite team for the first time since LeBron James took his talents to Southern California.
Here are three men Cleveland should steer away from in free agency this summer.
1. Avery Bradley
The Cavs could use depth in the backcourt, and in particular, they could use someone who can defend and hit 3-pointers.
A few years ago, Bradley may have fit the bill, but at age 31, he seems to be in decline.
Bradley, a 6-foot-2 guard, made a name for himself while with the Boston Celtics as a pesky point of attack defender and a solid 3-point shooter.
After leaving Beantown in 2017, he bounced around the league before joining the Los Angeles Lakers for the 2019-20 campaign where he won a championship with LeBron James (although Bradley opted out of the bubble due to personal concerns).
Shoutout to Avery Bradley on a great season. pic.twitter.com/lH3q94Qp9C
— pickuphoop (@pickuphoop) June 24, 2020
On the surface, his 39.0 percent 3-point shooting accuracy this season seems great, but the reality is that he was inconsistent with his shooting in his second stint with the Lakers.
Even more than that, his defense has slipped, and he doesn’t seem to be as energetic as he used to be.
2. Rodney Hood
Hood used to be a viable 3-and-D wing who could play both the 2 and the 3, and at 6-foot-8 he had plenty of length to bother opposing players.
Dame time? Nah. CJ time? Nah. RODNEY HOOD TIME. pic.twitter.com/ypoh5rXoIo
— ProCity Hoops (@ProCityHoops) May 4, 2019
But he tore his Achilles early in the 2019-20 season, and he just hasn’t been the same since.
Generally speaking, such an injury greatly robs athletes of their mobility, which tends to affect them even more on the defensive end than it does offensively.
Over the last two seasons, Hood has played with four different teams and has shot just 36.5 percent from the field and 31.4 percent from downtown.
Some Pollyannish Cavs fans may like the idea of bringing him in as a reclamation project, but the odds of him returning to his old form seem slim at this point.
3. Collin Sexton
Sexton has become a very good player, but keeping him in Cleveland would be iffy.
Starting him alongside Darius Garland would give the Cavs a starting backcourt that is small and weak defensively, and would it really make sense to dole out max or near-max money to Sexton only to bring him off the bench?
The best bet for Cleveland would be to arrange a sign-and-trade involving him in order to get value in return while also addressing its weaknesses.