Cleveland Cavaliers Roster Outlook: Bigs

Cleveland Cavaliers Roster Outlook: Bigs

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Danny Cunningham covers the Cleveland Cavaliers for 850 ESPN Cleveland and You can follow him on Twitter at @RealDCunningham.


The transaction window of the summer has unofficially opened in the NBA. The NBA Draft has come and gone, trades have been consummated, and free agency is set to arrive on Friday evening.


The Cavaliers have holes on the roster to fill, whether through trades or free agency signings. This week, we’ll dive into what could be available on a position-by-position basis. Today, we’ll take a look at the bigs on the roster.


What’s in Place


When the Cavaliers selected Evan Mobley third overall in the 2021 NBA Draft he instantly became a franchise cornerstone. Two seasons later, he’s the player that will likely determine just how far this group can go in the postseason, even with Donovan Mitchell on the roster. What Mobley develops into, particularly offensively, is going to start to tell the story of the Cavs. He entered the league as an above-average defender – something that’s incredibly difficult to do as a 7-footer – and has already become one of the NBA’s best. He took a leap from year one to year two on both ends of the floor, and needs to take an even bigger one at the offensive end this season. If he does that, the future will look even brighter.


Aside from Mobley, Jarrett Allen is entering the third year of his five-year, $100MM extension. He had a tough playoff series against the Knicks, but certainly was still a big part of what the Cavs did on both ends of the floor last season. How the team is able to balance Mobley’s ascension on both ends with Allen’s responsibilities will be something to watch this season. Allen also happens to be the best potential trade chip that the Cavaliers have. He’s not a player they should be in a rush to move, but he also isn’t untouchable in a way that Mobley, Darius Garland, and Donovan Mitchell are.


One other thing the Cavs need next season is for Dean Wade to be much better than he was this past season. Prior to injuring his shoulder in December, Wade was shooting 41.1 percent from beyond the arc. He wasn’t taking a ton of shots in his 24 minutes per game, but he was still a helpful player. When he returned from his shoulder injury (and the ankle injury that happened during his rehab) he wasn’t the same player. His shooting dipped significantly to just 31 percent from 3-point range, he didn’t rebound the ball as well, and ultimately found himself bouncing in and out of the rotation. If Wade returns to the player he was pre-injury for the Cavs that will be a big boost.


Potentially Departing Free Agents


Robin Lopez was certainly regarded as a good presence in the locker room throughout the year as a veteran leader, but he didn’t play a ton for the Cavs. If he’s back, more playing time for him likely isn’t in the cards.


What Else is Out There: Free Agency


The Cavs need to find at least one more playable big man to have on the roster this season. A name like Thomas Bryant could make sense, depending on the price. But the options aren’t terrific for a third big man on the open market.


What Else is Out There: Trades


Whether the Cavs decide to bring Allen back or flip him in a trade this summer, it’s interesting that they reportedly had interest in Minnesota’s Naz Reid, according to Yahoo! Sports. Obviously, Reid has since signed an extension with the Timberwolves, but this does lead to the Cavs having interest somewhere in search of an additional big man. Maybe that can be  accomplished via a trade. Either way, the Cavs need to have more playable big men on the roster when training camp rolls around this year than they did when last season ended.