Most arguments go something like this:
“Sexton is a 20+ point playmaker, the exact type of lethal scoring that Cleveland desperately needed last season.”
“Sexton is a defensive sieve who lacks much in the way of dynamic play, and was holding back Darius Garland‘s progress.”
But each of those arguments comes with one underlying premise: that Sexton is a starter.
It is possible, though, that regardless of whether Sexton returns or not next season, he will not be starting for Cleveland.
In fact, that plan might already be in the works.
Enter Caris LeVert.
The Cavs traded for LeVert ahead of last year’s trade deadline to add guard depth to a depleted corps.
The injury to Sexton hurt, but when Ricky Rubio went down, it was time to press the panic (and trade) button.
So the Cavs brought in LeVert from the Pacers, hoping he could be a viable starting backcourt partner with Garland.
Cleveland was low on secondary playmaking and scoring and LeVert’s career 14.1 points and 3.9 assists (in theory) could ameliorate those deficiencies.
Unfortunately, injuries and a lack of practice time hindered LeVert’s chances of finding a groove in Cleveland.
Some cavs fans forgot that Caris Levert is legitimately good
— 👾 (@CLETommy) July 23, 2022
But now Cleveland has options with the guard.
Offseason practices mean more time to gel and get comfortable in a system.
And the plan might be to roll with LeVert as the starting two-guard, at least according to Cavs insider Evan Dammarell:
Sources say that, for now, LeVert is penciled in as the starting shooting guard next to Garland in the backcourt. Cleveland likes his ability as a bigger guard to relieve defensive attention off of guard as well as his ability to create individually on the offensive side of the ball as well.”
But LeVert’s spot might not be guaranteed in the long-term either.
LeVert is extension eligible starting August 7.
He’s still on the books for this season but will be an unrestricted free agent next summer.
And unless he breaks out in a big way this season, paying LeVert big money when extensions for Isaac Okoro and Evan Mobley are also coming down the pike likely isn’t the way to go.
Caris Levert to Cavs trade update:
2022 Cavs 1st RP (Lottery-Prot.)
2022 Rockets 2nd RP
2027 Utah 2nd RP
2022 Heat 2nd RP
The Cavs got a deadly scorer for a second round pick swap & later signed Rubio to a 3Y deal. Finesse🔥 pic.twitter.com/RJUvCCg4ms
— The Cavs Room (@CavsRoom) July 21, 2022
That’s doubly true if the Cavs do bring back Sexton on a multi-year deal.
Will the Cavs look to trade LeVert this summer?
Not so fast.
Again, here’s Dammarell:
“Mind you, that doesn’t mean the Cavaliers have to trade LeVert. Instead, it’s quite the contrary with Cleveland now having the runway to evaluate him and possibly increase his trade value. They can then possibly look to move him heading towards next season’s trade deadline if they want to and try and recoup value after trading for him. Or they could also try to rock the boat too much if LeVert is playing well and instead risk losing him in free agency the following offseason.”
So the Cavs find themselves in an enviable spot.
They can play LeVert and hope he pans out in order to retain him.
Cleveland can also hope he plays well in order to move him.
Or, if LeVert flames out, they still have a bevy of options (including Sexton) to throw into the starting two-guard slot.
It’s often a luxury to have options in the NBA.
And with LeVert, the Cavaliers have options galore.