The Cleveland Cavaliers will be looking to add some youth to their bench bunch this off-season. The problem is they have limited assets to trade out in return. Iman Shumpert and Channing Frye do not have the friendliest of contracts. Edy Tavares and Kay Felder both have non-guaranteed contracts which could be useful to other teams by cutting them to make roster spots available and trim some cap room, but their salaries put together wouldn’t even clear a full four million dollars. Of all their current trade assets Cedi Osman, the Cavs up-and-coming 2nd round pick, who has been getting better while stashed in Turkey, may be their most valuable chip. He has the skill-set to be a NBA starter someday and even better, whoever signs him can do so for second round money, while getting a lottery type player.
The Cavs would hope to bring Osman along themselves, but their current timeline doesn’t allow them the patience to wait until he is ready. If the Cavs want a younger, more formidable second unit in 2017-18, they may be forced to cash in on his potential now. The Cavs also have four trade exceptions if we really scrape the bottom of the asset barrel. They do own the least favorable of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Los Angeles Lakers second round picks in 2019 and could use their 2021 1st rounder.
Sean Kilpatrick -
Sean Kilpatrick is 27 years old and stands 6’4 weighing 219 pounds. The Brooklyn Nets just picked up his $1.5 million option for 2017-18. They also made a nice trade before the draft, acquiring D’angelo Russell from the Lakers. The Nets will look to build around Russell and they are high on Caris Levert as their up-and-coming two guard. Brooklyn has money to spend but will have a difficult time landing the high profile wing player they will pursue in free agency.
Kilpatrick is coming off of his best season in the NBA averaging 13.1 points, 4 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game. He got off to an impressive start to the season, providing some much needed scoring off the bench during the first few months of the season. His impressive play was highlighted by a 38 point, 14 rebound effort against the Los Angeles Clippers on November 29th. He earned himself 24 starts over that stretch and was a key player in the Nets offense. However, with the emergence of Levert late in the season, he saw his minutes cut and actually drew 11 DNP’s in March and April.
Kilpatrick is an emerging player with the ability to score in bunches despite not being a part of Brooklyn’s long term plans. He would benefit greatly from getting the opportunity to play with some better NBA players. I think he could be had rather prudently, if the Cavs were so inclined. He would improve their bench scoring with his ability to slash, shoot from the mid-range and from distance. On the season, he averaged 25.1 minutes per game, while shooting 41.5% from the field and 34.1% from three point range. He also established himself as a good rebounding guard when he was getting the minutes in Brooklyn.
Robert Covington -
Robert Covington (26) is 6’7 and 215 pounds of exactly what they Cavs need. Covington is an excellent defender and has the ability shoot the triple. He is the type of potential 3-and-D guy that would be ideal coming of the Cavs bench. He averaged 31.6 minutes a game last season in Philadelphia and shot 33.3% from distance which is down from his career average of 35.4%. Covington put up 12.9 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists during his third season in the NBA. On the defensive end, he is a menace, averaging 1.9 steals and and block per game while drawing assignments on the opposing teams best players and the elite wings of the NBA.
Philadelphia is well under the salary cap and wants to upgrade at the wing position. They will surely kick the tires on the Gordon Hayward’s of this year’s free agency class, but more than likely will be left courting the second tier wings of the class, such as Otto Porter Jr, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Tony Snell. They would likely have to overpay to even land a second-tier veteran wing, but if achieved, would help expedite their rebuild. Along with the Sixers free agency aspirations, they have a rather large number of young players making up their core in Ben Simmons, Markelle Fultz, T.J. Mcconnell, Joel Embiid, Dario Saric, Jahlil Okafor, Justin Anderson, not to mention Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot. Covington is a free agent at the end of season and will get paid somewhere. The Sixers have to decide if he fits into their rebuild timeline and if they can’t land one of their free agent targets, do they want to spend on him? If the answer is “no” to either of those questions, it only makes sense to try and get something in return for him before he walks out the door. Some sort of deal based around Channing Frye’s expiring contract might be enough to get Covington in Cleveland.
Al-Farouq Aminu(26) is 6’9, 220 pounds and brings to the table tremendous versatility. With his length he can play both the three and four spots. His good mobility allows him to match-up well defensively with stretch fours around the league. He is still a good defender when matched up with an opposing teams small forward, but he played the majority of his minutes at the four late in the 2016-17 season and in the post-season. His offensive game needs some work but he has the ability to slash and finish around the rim, while hitting the occasional spot-up three.
Aminu would be a nice addition to the Cavs second team. Defensively he would make an immediate impact and he still brings the threat of scoring in bunches offensively. Imagine how productive he would be in the Cavs “switch everything” approach with the Golden State Warriors.
Portland already had 15 players under contract before they drafted Zach Collins and Caleb Swanigan in the first round of the draft. Aminu lost his starting job in 2016-17 and saw his numbers decline for the second straight season. Although, this would naturally happen to a certain degree with the emergence of CJ Mccollum along side Damion Lillard in their back-court. Plus, Head Coach Terry Stotts loves giving Maurice Harkless all the run he can handle. With Portland’s cap situation being unfavorable, along with their potential desire to bring along their draft picks, it is possible they could part ways with Aminu for the right combination of Cavs assets.
Aminu averaged 8.7 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.6 assists last season while shooting 39.2% from the field and 32.9% from three point range. He played in 61 games and averaged 29.1 minutes per game. In the Trailblazers first round playoff series against the Warriors, he did raise his offensive game averaging 12 points per game and shooting 45.9% from the field and 41.2% from distance.
Terrence Ross -
Terrence Ross is coming off of his best all-around season to date. He was traded to Orlando mid-season, in the Serge Ibaka deal. He is 6’7, 195 pounds and extremely athletic. He is a superb shooter and can get streaky hot from three point range. He is an improved defender and can be elite when he is willing.
He would be a great addition to a Cavs bench that needs youth, defense and scoring as he can provide all three. He has the ability to come off of the bench and provide an immediate lift, which would be the opposite of what we saw from the Cavs in 2016-17. Ross played in 78 games and averaged 25.1 minutes per game. There is a lot to be said for finding players that will be on the court every night with Lebron James and Kyrie Irving.
Ross averaged 11.0 points per game while shooting 43.7% from the field and 36.3% from three point range. He currently has two years and $28 million left on his contract. Orlando isn’t going to be competitive this year they want to move forward with Mario Hezonia behind Evan Fournier. They may look to use Ross as a trade chip to improve their team in other areas.
Wilson Chandler -
Wilson Chandler came back from his injury better than he was before it sidelined him 2015-16. He is the ultimate role player, doing everything well but nothing exceptionally. Wilson is the oldest player on this list at 30 years-old, but proved to be a very good two-way player for the Nuggets last season. He averaged 15.7 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game in 2016-17, while averaging 30.9 minutes in 71 games played.
The Denver Nuggets are under the cap with Danilo Gallinari declining his $16 million player option to test free agency. The Nuggets are primed to try and make a move towards contention this year. Their main goal is landing a max-player in free agency, which means they need to consolidate. They have 13 players under contract after Roy Hibbert and Mason Plumlee come off their books, which means guys like Kenneth Faried and Chandler are trade chips. Not only do they need to clear some more room so they can make their desired splash in free agency, but they also need to make room for their younger core players to get more minutes.
Chandler is owed $24.8 million over the next two seasons but has a player option in 2018-19. The price is right for him and Denver knows he would help a contender. Chandler would be a terrific addition to the Cavs roster.