Brandon Knight was acquired by the Cavs last year as part of a three-way deal with the Kings and Rockets. Now, he’s on the last year of his deal and plays the same position as the Cavs’ last two No. 1 picks. He is also one of three guards on the last year of their deal.
It’s a weird fit for a player who surely wants to prove himself and earn another deal, so how exactly can he and the Cavs navigate that?
Chris Manning (@cwmwrites): Unfortunately for Brandon Knight, the best case for him in the context of the overall team is probably not playing much or at all. He’s not only playing the same position as Darius Garland and Collin Sexton, but the Cavs also have Jordan Clarkson (who is better than Knight) and Matthew Dellavedova (who may not be better, but has a cleaner fit). If he can’t be traded to a team looking to get off of salary, maybe a buyout makes sense for both sides.
Justin Rowan (@cavsanada): I agree with Chris. While Knight’s addition last season did help in some ways as it allowed for Collin Sexton to become more comfortable off ball, it was a disastrous pairing. Knight clearly wasn’t committed during a lost season and it seems unlikely that much would change now. Even if the Cavs were to give him heavy minutes in an attempt to showcase him, how much would it actually change his value even if he played well. Unlike Clarkson, Knight can’t help the team while he’s here and there are just too many other mouths to feed in the guard rotation. The best case scenario would be to get literally anything for him prior to the start of the season.
David Zavac (@DavidZavac): Will he show up motivated and interested? If he does, I can see him being a reliable veteran that the new coach appreciates. He can make some threes and play off ball, and in theory he’s a decent fit with either of the young guards. We’re talking best case scenario here, so if he’s a super-charged Delly that works to resurrect his career, I’ll take it.
CM: In a suboptimal world, John Beilein leans on Knight too much in an effort to have the team hit a certain floor. When that happens, he takes away minutes all year — even if it’s only 5-10 a game — from guys that are the future of the franchise in Garland and Sexton. He also can’t be traded or doesn’t get bought out, and it’s an awkward dance all year about him taking away minutes from the future, especially if those two guys are playing well and are deserving of more time.
JR: The worst case scenario is that Knight takes away minutes from players that should be higher on the list of the Cavs priorities and it leads to locker room resentment. Cleveland did a good job maintaining a healthy locker room atmosphere through the losing last season after a rocky start. To take a step back in that department over Brandon Knight would be… suboptimal.
DZ: I suppose the worst-case scenario is what happened last year, with Knight playing a lot and not being particularly helpful or good. The Cavs have plenty of guys to soak up minutes in an unhelpful way, so if it’s going to happen you need it to be people you’re hoping to develop. If Knight is playing, but isn’t turning himself into a trade asset, that would be disappointing.