It’s mid-summer, meaning trade rumors, draft speculation, and free agency buzz is starting to simmer.
And this summer, the Cavaliers should be exploring every avenue to improve the team.
Long gone are the days wallowing in rebuilding purgatory.
No more waiting around for the draft to roll around, watching other teams dip their toes into the market.
No, the Cavaliers are on the cusp of contention and a few shrewd moves could put them squarely in the Eastern Conference playoff discussion.
That shouldn’t come as a shock — last season, the Cavs sat near the top of the Eastern Conference through the All-Star Break.
Key injuries to Ricky Rubio, Jarrett Allen, and Evan Mobley down the stretch submarined the team’s chances of making a playoff run.
Now, the Cavs should look to add depth to positions of need (point guard and center) as well as explore what options exist to bring in a high-end three-and-D wing.
According to Hoops Hype’s Michael Scotto, one target that Cleveland could be eying is Denver Nuggets forward Aaron Gordon.
The eight-year NBA vet would ostensibly fill Lauri Markkanen‘s spot in the lineup.
AARON GORDON REALLY THREW DOWN THE REVERSE OOP 🤯 pic.twitter.com/8D3lGtHFcZ
— NBA TV (@NBATV) April 2, 2022
And at first look, Gordon appears to fulfill many of Cleveland’s needs at forward.
For starters, Gordon is an excellent defender.
He’s capable of fighting through screens and guarding multiple positions on the court.
Pairing him with Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen would be the equivalent of building Fort Knox on Euclid Ave.
That is to say, the defensive numbers Cleveland could achieve with Gordon would be eye-popping.
On the offensive side of the ball, Gordon does leave a little to be desired.
During the regular season, Gordon shot 52% from the field, but only 33.5% from beyond the arc.
In the post-season, those numbers dipped precipitously: he went 42% from the field and a measly 20% from three.
That means much of Gordon’s finishing is done at or near the rim.
And don’t get me wrong, he’s excellent at that.
But so is Jarrett Allen.
And while the defensive numbers are enough to make one salivate, the potential that Cleveland clogs up the lane and has serious spacing problems with Gordon on the floor is real.
What Cleveland really needs is a forward threat who can consistently hit from three, allowing Allena and Mobley to go to work on the inside.
Oh, and there’s the fact that Gordon is owed $19.7 million next season.
That’s not a bad price to pay if Gordon had the ability to defend capably and shoot threes.
But as it stands, that’s probably a cost-prohibitive price, given a Darius Garland extension on the horizon.
While Gordon might not be the piece Cleveland needs, there are several other options available the Cavaliers might want to explore.
How might a Jerami Grant fit in this lineup?
Grant is a far more capable offensive player, though he’s not the same defensive stud as Gordon.
But that might be okay, given how strong Cleveland’s defense is at present.
And every day that he plays in the Finals, Andrew Wiggins‘ price tag seems to go up.
The Cleveland Cavaliers have the BEST young big 4 in the NBA and it isn’t debatable. pic.twitter.com/ZE8clCfX8v
— 𝗢𝗽𝘁𝗶𝗺𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗶𝗰 𝗖𝗹𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗹𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗙𝗮𝗻 (@CLE_Optimistic) June 14, 2022
However, he might be another piece Cleveland should check out this offseason.
As it stands now, Markkanen is a nice piece, but he’s probably not the long-term solution for the position.
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