1. The Cavaliers embrace a thriving roster
One of the bigger questions heading into today’s NBA trade deadline was what move the Cleveland Cavaliers needed to make with a roster playing this well. The front office had to decide if they wanted to create any waves that could potentially rock what appears to be a steady boat.
Cavs President of Basketball Operation Koby Altman chose to not risk it. The deadline passed and Cleveland’s roster remained intact. Altman explained his approach in his press conference held after the deadline.
“I don’t think we were close (to making a move),” he said. “There were options on the board but when we were watching the group, we decided to live in the present.” Altman also said he consulted with his players and staff before choosing not to make any moves that could be considered lateral.
2. The rest of the East was active
While the Cavaliers were content enjoying the deadline like the rest of us, the top teams in the East all added to their arsenal. The Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers, Milwaukee Bucks, and most notably, the New York Knicks, strengthened their rosters via trade.
The Knicks stole the show on Thursday by swinging for Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks in exchange for Evan Fournier, Malachi Flynn, Ryan Arcidiacono, Quentin Grimes and multiple second-round picks.
Full trade, per ESPN Sources:— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) February 8, 2024
Knicks: Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks
Pistons: Quentin Grimes, Malachi Flynn, Evan Fournier, Ryan Arcidiacono and two second-round picks.
This trade bolsters New York’s roster and gives them one of the deepest rotations in the Eastern Conference. As it currently stands the Knicks are only one game removed from the second seed (which belongs to Cleveland). This was a big move for a team that seems built to have a chance at competing for the conference title.
The rest of the conference was not as aggressive as New York but many contenders took measures to add to their rosters, as well.
The 76ers, while attempting to stay in the top of the East during Joel Embiid’s injury, acquired sharpshooter Buddy Hield from the Pacers. Then, Milwaukee received Patrick Beverly from the 76ers to ensure a two-way guard come postseason time.
Meanwhile, the Celtics made a trade on the eve of the trade deadline to acquire Xavier Tillman from the Memphis Grizzlies to add some frontcourt insurance when matched up against bigger centers.
3. The Cavaliers now turn their attention to the buyout market
With two open roster spots, the Cavs have an opportunity to add talent without giving anything up in a trade.
The buyout market has familiar names available every year. This time, role players such as Joe Harris, Spencer Dinwiddie, Marcus Morris, Kyle Lowry and Daniel House Jr. jump off of the page.
The Cavaliers should look to find players who fit into their style of basketball. Morris and Harris stand out as targets who can match Cleveland’s high-volume shooting approach to offense.
Sitting in second place in the Eastern Conference, Cleveland has an alluring case for buyout players looking for a home. The glowing chemistry that has been displayed during the Cavs recent stretch of games should be a selling point for the team.
It will be interesting to see how the Cavs use their two remaining roster spots. Will they take a chance on a free agent? Or will someone like Craig Porter, who is currently on a two-way deal with the Cavs, earn a standard contract? More importantly, will any of these players be able to crack the rotation?