The Cleveland Cavaliers conducted exit interviews on Thursday afternoon after being bounced in the first round of the playoffs by the New York Knicks.
The attention quickly turns to how this team is going to look like in the fall. The only rotation player not under contract for next season is Caris LeVert. According to him, he hopes to re-sign with the team in the coming months.
"Absolutely. It's something we spoke about - the future. What my role is here. Obviously, it's something I want to do. I want to be part of this team. It's a super special group. But, you know it's a business so we'll see what happens."#Cavs Caris LeVert on his future.— Evan Dammarell (@AmNotEvan) April 27, 2023
LeVert had a rough start to the season, but really turned things around after becoming more comfortable in his role alongside Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell in the offense. Since the All-Star break, LeVert averaged 12.5 points and 3.7 assists with an effective field goal percentage of 62.6%. He was able to do this through buying into becoming a more catch-and-shoot player as he attempted 4.6 threes per game while knocking down 46.6% of them.
This good play carried over to the playoffs. He was the only Cavalier besides Isaac Okoro to score more points per game in the playoffs than they did in the regular season. LeVert averaged 15 points on .429/.361/.615 shooting splits with 2.6 assists in five playoff games.
The Cavs are starved for shooters and ballhandlers who can fit alongside the current core four of Garland, Mitchell, Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen. LeVert was the best fit with that group this season.
Lineups with LeVert and the core four outscored opponents by 16.2 points per 100 possessions in the regular season. This was one of the reasons why J.B. Bickerstaff opted to go with the “death lineup” to start Games 3 and on. While this move hurt the rest of the rotations, this grouping was still productive in the postseason as they posted a 3.2 net rating against the Knicks.
The Cavs own LeVert’s Bird Rights meaning they are able to go over the cap to re-sign him. If they chose to let him walk, they won’t have a way to replace that salary slot in free agency. This essentially means they’re at the mercy of whatever LeVert and his agent demand given their lack of other resources available to improve the roster.
We’ll see how this plays out over the summer. As of now, it’s safe to say both sides would like to make things work out for next season.