The Cleveland Cavaliers don’t have any glaring, obvious needs on the roster. They are flush with usable players up-and-down the roster, and that is before Ricky Rubio returns from injury later this season. Raul Neto and Robin Lopez are solid veterans who would play on most teams, but who are just injury insurance for the Cavs when everyone is healthy.
They have an open roster spot, and could use that to sign a player out of the G League. That player would be simply a depth piece, however; there aren’t players floating aroud ready to sign and join the rotation immediately. No move like that would move the needle.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are keeping the phone lines open on possible trades. Which longtime Cavs player was named their “top trade candidate”?
The one avenue available for the Cavs to improve the rotation would be via trade. They are unlikely to look at big-swings, moves that swap Jarrett Allen for OG Anunoby, for example. Their core 4, plus Dean Wade, Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio, are likely off the market. That leaves just a few potential paths for a big swing, most likely to upgrade on the wing.
One player rumored to be in such talks is Cedi Osman, the Cavs’ second-longest tenured Cavs player after Kevin Love. Osman has been on the team since 2017, going from bit player to starter and now has settled in as a frequent, but not constant, rotation player.
Osman came out of the gates on fire this year, hitting at least 50 percent from 3-point range in each of the first three games and scoring fourteen or more in his first four. Then he began his usual up-and-down dance of efficiency, going cold for one stretch of games and regaining his shot for others. For the year he is now shooting 39.1 percent from deep on 3.8 attempts per game (6.3 per 36 minutes).
It’s obvious that head coach J.B. Bickerstaff isn’t locked into playing Osman, which makes him expendable to some extent. Indeed, when Hoops Hype released a list of the players each team was considering trading, Cedi Osman was name by league insiders as the player the Cavs were most likely to listen to inquiries about.
The one area the Cavs might want to pursue an upgrade at is small forward, which makes this situation a bit tricky. Osman is, theoretically, a small forward. What team would have a better small forward than Osman and then trade him for the Turkish wing?
To get a deal done, the Cavs will likely need to include either draft capital or a third team. The three-team trade seems most likely; they pair with a team that needs depth on the wing and who can send draft capital or other players to a third team that then sends a 3-and-D wing to the Cavaliers.
That’s honestly still a longshot, but it’s at least possible. One such trade would be a deal bringing Jae Crowder back to the Cavs. Others include adding Gary Harris, Matisse Thybulle or Malik Beasley, all of whom offer their own issues but have some strong qualities as well.
The team doesn’t appear to be in a hurry to trade Osman, and they shouldn’t be. He is a long-tenured vet that seems to be a positive part of the group’s locker room vibes and when he’s on, he’s on. That’s not a bad player to keep around. He makes sense to be the player the team brings up in trade discussions, but unless the team is clearly upgrading they should keep Osman around.