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Cleveland Cavaliers Rumors: Is a Caris LeVert Trade the Right Move?

The Cleveland Cavaliers will have to make a decision on whether or not to trade Caris LeVert at the deadline. Tony Pesta checks out the recent Cleveland Cavaliers rumors, focused on Caris LeVert.
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Cleveland Cavaliers Rumors: Is a Caris LeVert Trade the Right Move?

We are one month away from the NBA trade deadline and if someone on the Cleveland Cavaliers will be shipped out of Ohio, it's probably Caris LeVert.

LeVert was acquired at last year's deadline in a swap including Ricky Rubio and a few NBA Draft picks. At the time, Cleveland was desperate for another playmaker to ease the load off Darius Garland.

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Now? The Cavaliers' backcourt is loaded with shot creators. The arrival of Donovan Mitchell and the return of Rubio have given the Cavs enough playmakers to keep the wheels turning for 48 minutes.

As a result, LeVert's role with the team will be tested. Considering he's on a reasonable $18 million dollar contract that expires this summer, he is also the easiest asset to flip for Cleveland.

But is trading LeVert as much of a no-brainer as it seems? Let's break down a few pros and cons of dealing the 28-year-old combo guard.

Cleveland Cavaliers: Pros and Cons of Trading Caris LeVert

Pro - Upgrade for Fit

The most obvious benefit of trading LeVert is the Cavaliers get a chance to address their biggest need, 3-point shooting.

While a straight-up swap for LeVert is unlikely to bring an overall upgrade in talent -- it can serve as an upgrade in terms of fit. Cleveland ranks 19th in 3-pointers made and would be even worse if it weren't for Donovan Mitchell, who has made 143 total 3-pointers this season, second most in the NBA.

The Cavs are lacking a true 3-and-D wing and while there aren't many on the market, trading LeVert is their best bet at snagging one this season. An asset like Harrison Barnes or Jae Crowder is something Koby Altman would have to strongly consider if it became a possibility.

Con - Lose a Spark Plug

While the Cavaliers have no shortage of ball handlers with Darius Garland, Donovan Mitchell, Ricky Rubio, and Raul Neto making up the rotation at full strength -- you can never have too much depth.

LeVert has found a niche as a secondary playmaker next to Garland or Mitchell. He's averaging 3.7 assists per game and has offered a jolt of offense to the second unit that is often needed to get the Cavs rolling.

Trading LeVert might lend the Cavaliers a better 3-point shooter but it's unlikely they find another all-around scorer and distributor that can fill his role on the bench.

Pro - More Touches for the Frontcourt

With this being said, ditching LeVert for a more traditional spot-up shooter would free the rest of the starting lineup to play fast and loose.

The Cavs have a spacing issue that is compounded by their league-slowest pace. Combine this with two All-Star guards making up the backcourt -- and a ball-dominant sixth man, it's hard for the likes of Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley to find touches.

Both of the big men are receiving fewer touches than last season and it's part of the reason why Cleveland's offense can feel more rigid than it should. Trading LeVert not only removes another ball-handler from the equation but also adds more spacing for the bigs to work.

Con - Disrupt Chemistry

No matter how enticing, shaking up the rotation at the deadline is rarely a move that pays off for title-contending teams. Sure, every once in a while you see a situation like Milwaukee acquiring P.J. Tucker just before rattling off a championship run -- but usually, disrupting a core right before the playoffs is not worth the price.

Trading LeVert in February would give the Cavs roughly two months to integrate a new piece and prepare for the playoffs. This is a high-risk, moderate-reward situation for the Cavs unless they find a trade partner that is an absolute win.

What's more, LeVert is just recently hitting his stride. Always a streaky player, LeVert has been growing more comfortable in his role on the bench. He's averaging 14.6 points on 45.6% shooting from the floor since early December and is playing superb defense on a nightly basis.

The Cavaliers have a glaring weakness on the 3-point line and it's hard to resist the urge to shake things up at the deadline in order to address it. Yet, they might be better served running with this squad for the upcoming playoffs and returning to the drawing board this summer.

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Tony Pesta graduated from Cleveland State University in 2022 with a degree in journalism. He covers the Cleveland Cavaliers for Fear the Sword and OddsChecker. You can follow him on Twitter at @Tony_Pesta.

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