Although the Cleveland Cavaliers had a quiet 2023 trade deadline, it wasn’t for a lack of trying.
The organization reportedly explored a number of possibilities, and when it came to a certain player, the Cavs apparently “went hard” in their attempts to get something done.
According to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com, the organization made a serious effort on Thursday to acquire sixth-year wing Royce O’Neale from the Brooklyn Nets.
The push was obviously unsuccessful.
“Throughout Thursday, sources say Cleveland went hard after O’Neale — a playoff-tested 3-and-D wing, one of [Donovan] Mitchell’s closest friends from their Utah days together, a snug locker room fit and a name that went to the top of the team’s wish list following Brooklyn’s roster overhaul,” Fedor wrote. “The Cavs even tried to get ultra-creative, lining up a series of shrewd, out-of-the-ordinary chess moves with other teams first to strengthen a potential final package. Brooklyn — which wanted more than a first-round pick, a price increase from what it took to get O’Neale this past offseason — wouldn’t bite.”
O’Neale would have been a nice addition for the Cavs, especially considering their need for some wing help.
This season, the 29-year-old is averaging 9.4 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 4.0 assists per game.
He’s a weapon from beyond the arc — he’s shooting 40.3 percent on 3-pointers this season — and is also a good defender.
Royce O'Neale is a lockdown defender🔒 #Netspic.twitter.com/AG63Wnw1xs
— TheColdWire.com (@thecoldwire) December 29, 2022
If the Cavs want to upgrade their wing situation now, they’re going to have to get creative in doing so, perhaps by exploring the buyout market.
O’Neale is set to stick around with the Nets, who have undergone some massive roster changes in recent days.
Two of those changes — their trades involving Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant — have completely shifted the landscape of the league.
As a result of the NBA’s deadline madness, the league has more title contenders right now than at any other time in recent memory.
Do the Cavs belong in that conversation?
Their quiet deadline probably didn’t do them any favors, but they’re still one of the most talented teams in the Eastern Conference.
Moreover, Brooklyn’s roster teardown has to be seen as good news for a team like Cleveland, as the Nets are one less team to worry about in the East.
But with arguably more than 10 title contenders across the entire league right now, the Cavs are going to have to prove that they deserve a seat at the table.NEXT: The Cavaliers Continue To Play Amazing Defense