Cleveland Cavaliers: 3 Players To Target In Order to Improve Their Bench

Mar 29, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Philadelphia 76ers forward Robert Covington (33) walks off the court after an 87-86 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Mar 29, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Philadelphia 76ers forward Robert Covington (33) walks off the court after an 87-86 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

While trading may not be the Cleveland Cavaliers first option, they could be limited to twelve players for the foreseeable future if a trade does not come to light.

The Cleveland Cavaliers are stuck at the crossroads of a major dilemma. For the past three season the Cavaliers have cruised to the number one seed in the East. With Toronto back just one game, Cleveland must now entertain the thought of competing for the Eastern Conference.

After key injuries from Chris Andersen and J.R. Smith, along with Mo Williams out indefinitely, the Cavaliers will be stuck with twelve players and in a major salary cap hole, but luckily there could be hope for a deal.

In an article by USA Today’s Jeff Zillgitt, he explains the Cavaliers dilemma.

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“But the Cavs have options. They can make a deal before the trade deadline, and they also have a $9.6 million trade exception to use. Depending on who that player is if they use the trade exception, it would add salary and increase the luxury tax payment. But for the right player, who can help win another championship, the Cavs are willing to make that deal.”

The Cavaliers have certain needs. They now need a backup point guard, or they need an athletic shooting guard/small forward. Why? Because if they can acquire of these players they can shift Iman Shumpert to the backup point guard and solve their bench woes. They must do this without giving up a key rotational player; picks may be in the conversation.

Who do you target though?

Without further ado, let us take a look at three players that could pique the Cavaliers interest.

Jan 5, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers forward Robert Covington (33) knocks the ball from Cleveland Cavaliers forward Tristan Thompson (13) during the second half at Wells Fargo Center. The 76ers defeated the Cavaliers 95-92. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Robert Covington – 6’9″ – Philadephia 76ers – Small Forward

Robert Covington has been one of my favorite players ever since he took a picture with me at the Las Vegas Summer League several years ago. Every since, I have closely watched his game, and I think it could fit perfectly on the Cavaliers bench.

Covington, who played his college ball at Tennessee State, is a swingman that has the ability to defend multiple positions while being able to score from outside. The problem with Covington this season is he is inefficient. His 29.1% from outside would need to improve as a member of the Cavaliers for them to pick up his team option in the 2017-2018 season.

Covington is a high-volume three-point shooter. 61.2% of his shots are from deep. This would fit perfectly into a Cavaliers offense that is second in three per game made and second in three-point shooting percentage.

The Cavaliers have made it point to surround LeBron James and Kyrie Irving with players that can knock down three’s such as Shumpert, J.R. Smith, Channing Frye, Richard Jefferson, James Jones, and Kevin Love. Covington could do this and give them a solid defensive presence at the same time.

Covington could be another player to add to that list for a relatively cheap cost if Ben Simmons return is imminent and successful.

Covington, who just turned 26, most likely isn’t in the long-term plans for Philadelphia and could hit the road easily.

Nov 2, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard Nik Stauskas (11) shoots between the defense of Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love (0) and guard J.R. Smith (5) during the first quarter at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Nik Stauskas – 6’6″ – Philadelphia 76ers – Shooting Guard

Nik Stauskas has been a force off of the bench for the 76ers. The shooting guard was a huge success at the University of Michigan and has yet to live up to his full NBA hype. Stauskas was traded to Philly after his rookie season which was spent in Sacramento.

With the same build and size of Shumpert, the Cavaliers would entertain the idea of having two quality, lengthy ball-handlers on their bench. The third-year man has scored 9.3 points per game and 13.1 points per 36 minutes.

He would also be able to bring shooting to this team that has made it an emphasis to add. Stauskas is more appealing to the Cavaliers because unlike Covington, he is efficient. His 1.6 threes per game and 38.6% from beyond the arc could entice the Cavaliers a bit more than Covington’s lackluster percentages.

Stauskas was traded after his rookie season in a deal that sent himself, Carl Landry, and Jason Thompson along with a pick to Philadelphia for minimal in return. Stauskas may not currently be on the Cavaliers watch list, but it would be nice to see the former Wolverine in the wine and gold uniforms.

Stauskas could also be a perennial role player that would help space the floor and Irving along with his own playmaking ability. While not likely, all the signs point to Nik being a quality target for the Cavaliers.

Dec 5, 2016; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Hawks guard Tim Hardaway Jr. (10) dunks against Oklahoma City Thunder forward Andre Roberson (21) in the third quarter of their game at Philips Arena. The Thunder won 102-99. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Tim Hardaway Jr. – 6’6″ – Atlanta Hawks – Shooting Guard

Two 76ers targets and now Hardaway is our second Wolverine to be targeted. Hardaway is just like the others. He is a quality swingman that can consistently come off the bench and supply the Cavaliers with an arial attack along with a defense presence.

Hardaway is in his second season with the Hawks after being traded to Atlanta from New York in a three team deal that moved Jerian Grant and Kelly Oubre also. Hardaway is by far the player with the highest ceiling among these three targets, and he would be the hardest to obtain. With Atlanta in a slight rebuild, they would most likely be against trading such a young talent. But for the right price, players can always be snagged.

Hardaway is having a solid season averaging 11.0 points per game on 42.9% shooting. His 1.4 threes per game are also a nice add-on to his scoring ability.

The only sad part is the possibility. The Cavaliers will not break up their stellar chemistry to trade a need-rotation player for Hardway; therefore it seems unlikely that Cleveland would even strike a conversation with Atlanta over Tim.

The Cleveland Cavaliers may be in a trading mood to improve this depleted team, but it won’t be at the sake of the teams chemistry. With their trading success, the Cavaliers should easily attempt to pull off one of these trades for a bench swingman.

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