Cleveland Cavaliers Early Free Agency Review | 3 Quick Takes

July 3, 2023

Andy Billman

3 Things Around Cavs First 96 Hours of Free Agency :

1 – Resigning of Caris LeVert 

The Cleveland Cavaliers first priority was re-signing Caris LeVert, and that was done right out of the box. The Cavs signed LeVert to a two-year deal for $32 million. LeVert’s contract is very team friendly, and this deal gives the Cavs some leverage if they want to make a trade down the line, and when the contract wraps up, it will be time for Evan Mobley’s new contract giving them cap room to make a max offer. 

LeVert is a great fit for the Cavs as he is well-respected in the organization and in the locker room.  

He provides good numbers on the floor as well.  His three-point shooting is consistent, and he averages 12.1 PPG, which is pretty good for a player that comes off the bench. He also is a very good passer as he rates very high on assists to make ratio (he is in the 90%), so he makes others on the floor better with his passing.

LeVert is also good for a handful of games a year when he will go off. The game in late October in Boston came to mind when LeVert scored 41 points. 

With his well-roundedness as a teammate, his wanting to play in Cleveland, along with his playing well in the playoffs (LeVert averaged 15 PPG), this was a no-brainer. 

2 – Hello, Max Strus. Goodbye, Cedi Osman and Lamar Stevens 

On Saturday morning, the Cavs made the big move of bringing in free agent Max Strus, who plays wing/small forward, on a four-year, $63 million sign-and-trade (according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski).  

This three-team deal sent Cedi Osman, Lamar Stevens, and draft compensation to the Spurs.  

Strus comes to Cleveland as a player who, in four seasons in the NBA, made steady progress in almost every category on year by year basis.  Strus is a shooter by trade who will help spread the floor and will shoot three-pointers when given the ball at a 35% clip.  His shooting percentage was down this year, but his minutes played were almost doubled, so the Heat had confidence in what he could do on the floor. 

Strus coming to Cleveland solves a problem potentially at the wing position, especially on offense, and he grew in the Miami system, proving he can play at an elite level.  Hard to get too upset or critical of this trade. It makes a lot of sense.

As for the trading of Osman and Stevens, it will be a loss, but to make a trade for Strus, the Cavs had to give something back, which also clearly signals that the Cavs believe in Okoro long-term. Still hard to see fan-favorites Osman and Stevens go, but had to be done.

3 – George Niang signing 

On Friday, the Cavaliers signed George Niang to a three-year deal for $26 million from Philly, bringing in another sharpshooter to Cleveland.  Niang is pure and simple. He’s a guy that comes off the bench, plays about 15-20 minutes per game, and is a great three-point shooter.


The signing of Niang, along with the trade for Strus, signal that the Cavs were not happy or satisfied with the current shooting on the team, and both will help immediately.  Both also play the forward position, with Strus being a wing and Niang being a pure forward, more of a power forward with his size.   

With the Cavs bringing back LeVert, it was a busy first few days of the free agency period.  The Cavs also signed guard Ty Jerome to a two-year deal. Jerome will be mostly an occasional backup who will see limited time.

Finally, the Cavs made a trade with the Jazz for Damian Jones, basically a cash transaction with Cleveland flipping the bill on the contract. Jones, like Jerome, will see occasional playing time at center.

Hard to get too upset with what the Cavs did. They attacked the position of forward with the idea of getting shooters and then resigned a player who contributed major minutes last season.  

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