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The Cleveland Cavaliers are swinging with the best of the Eastern Conference, but are still looking for upgrades.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are so back. After trading for Donovan Mitchell this offseason, the Cavs sit at fourth in the Eastern Conference, back just three games in the loss column from the first-place Milwaukee Bucks.
The move they made this offseason to acquire Donovan Mitchell has been hugely successful and was the activating piece to get all their small-to-medium moves from the last several seasons clicking at once.
But the Cavs can’t, and don’t appear to be just stopping there by default. They would like to add more, and as the trade deadline in February nears, we’re hearing more from reporters on what they’d like to do.
According to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com, the Cavs want to add Tim Hardaway Jr.
Cavs could try to swap Caris LeVert for Tim Hardaway Jr.
Speaking with Jake Fischer on his Don’t Aggregate This podcast, here’s what Fedor had to say:
“Tim Hardaway Jr. is somebody that the Cavs have been watching and they’ve been keeping an eye on. And I think if the Cavs had their choice, it would be very very close… If they had their choice, it would be between Bojan and Tim Hardaway Jr.”
Fischer went on to add that a framework of THJ for LeVert already exists because the Dallas Mavericks tried to make that happen when LeVert was ultimately sent to the Indiana Pacers.
Fedor added color pointing out that LeVert’s expiring contract, even salary with Hardaway, and his duplicate skillset make him an ideal trading piece for the Cavs who can’t trade a first-round pick.
Here’s how the two match up statistically per 36 minutes this season:
- Tim Hardaway Jr: 17.4 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.0 assists on 43.5% shooting from 2-point and 36.2% on 3-point shots
- Caris LeVert: 14.6 points, 4.9 rebounds, 4.2 assists on 43.5% shooting from 2-point and 36.7% shooting on 3-point shots
Hardaway is much more of an off-ball wing player who could help space the floor for Cleveland. LeVert, as you can see comparing assists per 36 minutes, is more of a facilitator than a scorer, taking over 2.0 fewer field goals per 36 minutes than Hardaway.
The Mavs biggest question is whether or not LeVert gets them any further than Hardaway. Perhaps, they run into some of the same issues in duplicate skill sets that the Cavs are running into if they acquire him.
The Mavs are clearly focused in on Hardaway or Bojan Bogdanovic of the Detroit Pistons. Several have speculatively tied Bogdanovic to the Mavs as well, so it’s quite possible we could see some sort of trade this year involving the Cavs, Mavs, and/or Pistons.