Cavaliers Rumors: Ranking Cleveland's Three Biggest Needs Ahead of the NBA Trade Deadline

The Cleveland Cavaliers have some holes they can fill at the 2023 NBA trade deadline. Tony Pesta is here to break down Cleveland's three biggest needs ahead of the NBA trade deadline.
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Cavaliers Rumors: Ranking Cleveland's Three Biggest Needs Ahead of the NBA Trade Deadline

As the Cleveland Cavaliers enter the back half of the 2022-23 NBA season, the team has some holes they can look to fill at the 2023 NBA trade deadline.

Falling to fifth in the Eastern Conference after a strong start to the year, Cleveland is searching for a second-half surge to put them back in contention for homecourt advantage.

With a star core of Donovan Mitchell, Darius Garland, Jarrett Allen, and Evan Mobley, it's on the bench to fill important supporting roles. While the second unit has had moments of glory, there are three gaps in the rotation the Cavaliers can potentially cover at the deadline.

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3. Perimeter defender

The Cavaliers have a sturdy collection of wing defenders. Isaac Okoro, Lamar Stevens, and Dean Wade are all switchable players who can bridge the gap from the backcourt to the frontcourt. But it's impossible to have too many perimeter defenders in the NBA.

Cleveland is already the second-ranked defense and allows the third-fewest points in the paint. Their point-of-attack defense is most vulnerable, with Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell often providing little resistance on the perimeter.

This has put a strain on the Cavaliers' big men to cover an impossible amount of ground. Not only are Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley two of the most impactful rim protectors, but Mobely also leads the NBA in contested 3-pointers.

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Boosting the rotation with another perimeter defender such as Josh Hart would ease the workload of Cleveland's frontcourt and hopefully slow down the barrage of opponent 3-pointers that have resulted from drive-and-kick attacks.

2. Backup big

Another way to ease the frontcourt load is to find a quality backup big.

It's impossible to overstate how important Mobley and Allen have been to Cleveland's success. Yet, with depth pieces such as Kevin Love and Robin Lopez being virtually unplayable at points this season, there is reason to consider adding another capable big man.

This is why the Cavaliers have found themselves in trade rumors for John Collins, who isn't exactly an ideal fit but would address their thin rotation in the frontcourt.

This won't be too high on the Cavaliers' wish list, however, as the franchise should rightfully be expecting Mobley and Allen to anchor them in the paint for years to come. More importantly, Collins' longterm fit with the Cavs would be questionable at best.

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1. Catch-and-shoot threat

In a dream world, the Cavaliers would have a certified catch-and-shoot wing to play with the core four. Could this be Dean Wade, or even Isaac Okoro? Or will Koby Altman pull the trigger on a deal to bring in a proven 3-point threat?

That's the question everyone will be monitoring as the trade deadline approaches.

The entire NBA is aware of Cleveland's glaring weakness on the 3-point line. Aside from Garland and Mitchell, the Cavs have struggled for perimeter offense, ranking 19th in the NBA for 3-pointers made.

There is mounting pressure to address this need as the Cavs continue to drop games they likely would have won with additional spacing. Targets such as Tim Hardaway, Malik Beasley, Doug McDermott, Josh Richardson, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Jae Crowder will entice the Cavaliers as the deadline is right around the corner.

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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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