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As the 2023-24 league year for the NBA officially opened on Friday evening the Cleveland Cavaliers were active.
The team has agreed to a deal that lands swingman Max Strus in Cleveland, a league source confirmed to thelandondemand.com. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski was the first to report.
According to Wojnarowski, Strus is landing in Cleveland via sign-and-trade that involves veterans Cedi Osman and Lamar Stevens as well as a second-round draft pick being sent to San Antonio in the deal and a second-round draft pick going to the Miami Heat.
Strus has spent the last three seasons with the Miami Heat after going undrafted out of DePaul University. He appeared in 39 games his first season with the Heat, before seeing his role increase in the last two years. Since the start of the 2021-22 season, Strus has shot 37.6 percent from beyond the arc on 6.5 3-point attempts per game. Those numbers would have ranked fourth and second among qualified players on the Cavs last season, respectively.
This is a deal that isn’t without risk. Removing a player like Strus from the infrastructure in he thrived in with the Miami Heat over the past two seasons means that his production may not translate to a new environment.
The flip side to that is Strus could receive more open looks in Cleveland than he has in Miami over the past couple of seasons. According to BBall Index, Strus was just in the fourth percentile across the NBA over the past two seasons in “openness rating” which is defined by the site as a value estimating the degree of openness a player has on average for their 3-point attempts.
Essentially, Strus took some of the more difficult 3-pointers in the NBA over the past two seasons and still shot the ball well. In Cleveland, either those looks will be easier for him after being generated by two dynamic guards in Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland, or those aforementioned All-Stars will have more room to operate because defenses must pay attention to Strus in a way that they didn’t have to before.
Strus was very effective shooting corner 3-pointers, knocking down 45.1 percent of those looks this past season. In Cleveland, those looks should be plentiful for him.
Overall, this is a move that has risk in it, but Strus is exactly the archetype of player the Cavaliers needed on their roster, but there have been plenty of shooters like him with contracts that have been deemed bad as time went on.