John Henson has yet to play a game with the Cavs despite being with the team since the middle of last season. It’s also entirely hard to know what the Cavs think of him, what his role might be or what his value is on the trade market. With that in mind, what exactly does his outlook look like for the season and the last year of his contract?
Chris Manning (@cwmwrites): Henson’s best case can play out in one of two ways. In one case, he’s able to be traded for something of value before or at the deadline. It’s hard to gauge exactly what that is considering he hasn’t played in a year or so, but a pick of some kind (maybe two second-rounders) wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world to get a for a guy who seems unlikely to part of any future plans. The other best case for him is that he plays and provides some defensive support behind what is going to a points yielding backcourt.
Justin Rowan (@cavsanada): John Henson is the type of player that would have been great to have during the LeBron era. At his best he’s a solid defensive five that can provide some floor spacing. The best case scenario is that he looks like himself and another team agrees with my assessment of him. He’ll be 29 this season and can be valuable to a team that’s at a different stage than the Cavs. Hopefully the Cavs can find a win-win outcome in a trade to find him a better home.
David Zavac (@DavidZavac): Earlier this summer the Cavs seemed to be pretty high on Henson and his potential role with the team. I haven’t heard as much of that chatter lately, but that doesn’t really mean anything. With Kevin Love and Tristan Thompson still on the roster, though, (both were at least mildly in question) it’s hard to see many minutes available. Still, Nance Jr. and Love are not the most durable players, and Thompson has broken down a bit of late. He’ll likely get a shot at some sort of role. His age isn’t ideal but he has real NBA skills and the team will need some competence at times. It wouldn’t surprise me to see an early trade of Thompson open up some time for him.
CM: Coming off of his wrist injury, Henson doesn’t look right when he starts playing again. If that happens, it means it’s hard to see how the Cavs trade for anything of value because a) a contender won’t think he’s a missing piece for a title run and/or b) his expiring contract isn’t all that valuable heading into the summer of 2020 and a very, very weak free agency class. Henson basically not mattering isn’t a huge deal because he’s not likely to yield anything significant on or off the court, but it’s not ideal for a franchise who is trying to accumulate as many assets as possible.
JR: Echoing what Chris said, injuries are certainly the worst case scenario here. No matter what Henson is likely worth something at the deadline, but how much will be determined by how he looks physically. As I mentioned above, Henson is still just 29 years old and can be a very solid player when he’s healthy. But this next season will be very important for his future as he tries to reestablish himself as a rotation player in the NBA.
DZ: Henson can’t work himself back into NBA form and the Cavs end up buying him out or swallowing his whole contract. That seems somewhat unlikely, but the real worst case scenario is that he isn’t helpful on the court and/or the Cavs can’t get an asset back for him at any point during the season.