Cavaliers Eyeing Tim Hardaway Jr.

The Cavaliers have interest in Mavericks wing Tim Hardaway Jr., Chris Fedor of said during an appearance on Jake Fischer’s Please Don’t Aggregate This podcast. Fedor identified Hardaway as a possible target for Cleveland after Fischer discussed the team’s interest in Pistons forward Bojan Bogdanovic.

“I would add another name,” Fedor said (hat tip to HoopsHype). “The Cavs believe this player is available, and my sources tell me that he could be had. It’s, again, at the right price. And it’s a little bit tricky, because he’s on a team that’s fourth place currently in the Western Conference.

“Tim Hardaway Jr. is somebody that the Cavs have been watching and they’ve been keeping an eye on. And I think if the Cavs had their choice, it would be very, very close. And they’re not going to have their choice, it doesn’t work that way, but if they had their choice, it would be between Bojan and Tim Hardaway Jr.”

The Cavaliers have two All-Stars (Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell) in their backcourt, with All-Star center Jarrett Allen and last year’s No. 3 overall pick Evan Mobley up front. The small forward spot is the only one in the starting five that remains a question mark, with players like Caris LeVert, Isaac Okoro, Lamar Stevens, and Dean Wade cycling through it this season.

Fischer, having reported earlier this week that the Cavs are in the market for a defensive-minded wing who is also an outside shooting threat, likes the idea of Hardway for Cleveland, especially since LeVert would probably have to be included in a hypothetical trade (his $18MM+ salary is within $1MM of Hardaway’s). The Mavs kicked the tires on LeVert before Cleveland acquired him from Indiana a year ago, according to Fischer, who also suggested that Dallas has been seeking another shot creator to complement Luka Doncic.

Fedor believes a trade centered around Hardaway and LeVert would be a “logical stylistic swap,” though he acknowledged that there could be some obstacles. Hardaway is under contract for two seasons beyond this one, so the Cavs may be reluctant to make that sort of commitment before seeing how he fits (LeVert is on an expiring deal). Both Fischer and Fedor also agreed that the Cavs may want an extra asset as opposed to making a one-for-one trade.

Here are a few more Cavs-related notes from the podcast:

  • “I’ve been told that the Cavs are not going to trade Isaac unless they get a significant piece back in return,” Fedor stated, referring to Okoro. Fedor initially said he’s not quite sure what sort of player would fit that profile, but agreed with Fischer when he suggested Raptors forward OG Anunoby. It’s difficult to imagine the Cavaliers having enough ammo to land Anunoby even if they were willing to include Okoro, since they can’t currently trade any of their future first-round picks.
  • The Cavaliers are about $2.5MM below the luxury tax threshold and are unwilling to go into the tax this season, per Fedor. That will be a factor to watch as Cleveland consider possible deals.
  • Neither Fischer nor Fedor gets the sense that Suns forward Jae Crowder is a target for the Cavaliers, and Fedor said he also heard that the club is “not all that interested” in Magic wing Terrence Ross.
  • The Cavs won’t make a trade just to make one, Fedor said, adding that some people within the organization want to see what it looks like if Wade gets an extended shot at the starting small forward job. Wade made nine starts earlier in the season, but has been out since December 2 due to a shoulder injury.
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