Cavaliers Unable to Make Decision on All-Star Trade Target

Cavaliers Unable to Make Decision on All-Star Trade Target

Just over two years ago, the Cleveland Cavaliers were in the midst of what seemed like a long rebuild after Kyrie Irving and LeBron James left the franchise in back-to-back seasons.

After a breakthrough third season and rookie years for Darius Garland and Evan Mobley, respectively, the Cavaliers accelerated their rebuild, reaching the Play-In Tournament and earning All-Star nods for Garland and Jarrett Allen. Mobley finished second in a historically close Rookie of the Year race and earned First Team All-Rookie honors. With an organic leap into postseason contention, Cleveland took a leap forward in their rebuild, trading for Utah Jazz superstar Donovan Mitchell. Since acquiring their new franchise player, they have reached the playoffs with home-field advantage every year.

When the Cavs made their home run swing for Mitchell, they entered a win-now mode, but they’ve been reluctant to continue their all-in, no-holds-barred approach since the Mitchell blockbuster. With the vast majority of available assets surrendered in the deal, Cleveland has been forced to rely on internal development, but that may no longer be possible.

After the Cavs lost in five games to the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals, The Athletic published a lengthy article detailing the potential knock-on effects and consequences of the Cavs’ moves this summer. Should Spida re-sign to a lucrative max extension, which is increasingly likely, Garland’s representation will be at Klutch Sports can try to force a transaction from Cleveland, despite the front office’s insistence on keeping their core four.

One name has emerged as a possible All-Star addition for the Cavaliers: New Orleans Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram. The former All-Star has kept the trade rumor mill swirling as the Pelicans navigate a growing cap sheet and continued postseason failures. New Orleans quickly showed interest in Garland and Allen, but the Cavaliers have gone back and forth in their willingness to make an Ingram trade.

But Cleveland’s hesitation and indecision may have robbed them of the chance to add Ingram with the latest news.

Both the Pels and Cavs are the two teams with the most trades this offseason, and the trade saga between the two teams has led to a disappointing conclusion. Yahoo! Sports journalist Jake L. Fischer reported that the Cavaliers had interest in Ingram, but not enough to offer a good return.

“While Cleveland has shown interest in Ingram and values ​​his skills, sources said the Cavs staff is reluctant to break up the team’s core… Without parting ways with Allen, who has long been on New Orleans’ radar, it’s difficult to see a way to bring Ingram to Northeast Ohio.”

Jake L. Fischer

According to Fischer, the Cavaliers are still fascinated by acquiring Ingram, but they don’t want to lose a core member to do so. Without an array of draft capital to offer, neither statement could be true and result in an outcome that brings Ingram to Cleveland. Aside from the need for the Pelicans to agree to the deal, the Cavaliers cannot financially target Ingram without losing all the depth they currently have.

Shortly after Fischer’s report, the Pelicans agreed to a trade for Atlanta Hawks guard Dejounte Murray in exchange for Larry Nance, Jr., Dyson Daniels and future draft picks. While early trade rumors linked Garland to the Pelicans for Ingram, the new Murray report almost certainly kills any possibilities and complicates the path to rekindling them in the future. Reports have suggested Ingram would rather stay in New Orleans, potentially putting all trade negotiations on hold.

Although rumors circulated and Ingram was seen as an ideal match for Mitchell, missing Ingram isn’t a devastating blow to the Cavaliers. He’s not a perfect player who could lead the Cavaliers to a championship in year one. In many ways, he could have been a downgrade from Garland if he didn’t fit into the system. But the back-and-forth with Ingram points to a larger growing problem in Cleveland.

Since acquiring Mitchell, the Cavaliers have stubbornly walked the line between a win-now contender and a patient team with a long lead time for their young core to develop. While Cleveland’s core is younger than many, their decision to trade for Mitchell accelerated their timeline. Indecisiveness in trade negotiations to purchase the core will only lead to failed opportunities and painful “what ifs.”

The Cleveland Cavaliers have voluntarily shortened their timeline for success, and now is the time to make upgrades. Those moves don’t have to mean breaking down the core four and could focus on complementary players, but indecision will lead to a wasted summer.

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