Holiday Wishlist: Cleveland Cavaliers
For a Cavs franchise in the midst of a re-build, no player is untouchable. Cleveland will be very active in moving their expiring contracts in order to pick up interesting youngsters and draft capital -- here are a few of the former.
Anfernee Simons, SG, Portland Trailblazers
If Kevin Love’s wishes are granted and he is traded home to the Pacific Northwest, look for Simons to be a key piece coming back to Cleveland. Portland has said that they’re loathe to part with the 20-year-old Simons, but mere months after making it to the Western Conference Finals, the Blazers are on the outside looking in at playoff picture, and risk a season slipping away. Sending Love for Hassan Whiteside and Simons would make the salaries match, and give the Cavs a youngster more similar in age to their growing core.
Mikal Bridges, SF, Phoenix Suns
Don’t rule out the spunky Suns making an all-in move by going for Kevin Love. Once Phoenix has DeAndre Ayton back from suspension, the floor-spacing Love would be the perfect complement in the Phoenix frontcourt. Right now the Suns are finding moderate success trotting out Frank Kaminsky and Dario Saric at the power forward spot, but both are bargain-basement versions of Love. In return, Bridges, who has found himself marginalized with the emergence of Kelly Oubre Jr., may find a chance to break out in Cleveland, which has plenty of room on the wing for an athletic, talented, mature player.
Tim Hardaway Jr., SG, Dallas Mavericks
How would Hardaway feel about a reunion with John Beilein? Tristan Thompson would be well-suited to doing the dirty work down low for the Mavericks, and Hardaway might make his way back to his near-20ppg ways in Cleveland. Plus in taking on the longer contract, the Cavs would be within their rights to pry a few second-round picks away from Dallas to replenish the coffers -- all of Dallas’ firsts are headed to New York.
Bogdan Bogdanovic, SG/SF, Sacramento Kings
The Kings are hoping to break their own playoff drought, and with Bogdanovic marginalized going into free agency, the Cavs might be able to take a long look and get his Bird rights to boot. The sweet-shooting Serbian, who leads the Kings in assists with De’Aaron Fox out, would fit nicely into John Beilein’s multiple-creator offense, and though a bit older, still has his prime in front of him.