There were a lot of big moves on the first day of free agency, but most major players agreed to return to their teams from a year ago. One of the few to buck the trend in a major way was Max Strus, who agreed to go to the Cleveland Cavaliers in a sign-and-trade.
The deal isn’t yet official, but when Strus arrives in Cleveland, he will do so with a new four-year, $63 million contract, according to ESPN. It’s a big raise for Strus, who was a developmental star for the Miami Heat.
The trade will see Cedi Osman, Lamar Stevens, and a second-round pick sent to the San Antonio Spurs. Meanwhile, the Heat will be getting a second-round pick from the Cavs as well.
How did the Cleveland Cavaliers do in acquiring guard Max Strus in a sign-and-trade from the Miami Heat?
The Cavaliers set out this offseason hoping to improve their shooting and did so significantly by grabbing Strus, one of the best shooters on the market. For his career, he’s hit 37.1 percent of his threes and averaged a career-best 11.5 points per game last year.
He does have a tendency to be a bit streaky and hit less than 25 percent of his threes in games the Heat lost in the postseason last year. That being said, he hit around his career average in wins and an undermanned Miami team made it all the way to the NBA Finals.
Strus can be a typical 3-and-D, although is defense isn’t always as strong as his effort on that end. One need look no further than when Derrick White scored his miraculous game-winner against the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals, a shot made possible after Strus seemed to lose his man.
Critically, Strus’ best ability – outside of his shooting – may be his availability. He takes care of himself and rarely misses time, out for just two games this year in the regular season and postseason combined.
Since it was a sign-and-trade and not an outright signing, Strus’ arrival has to be viewed in the context of who and what is departing. The second-round picks don’t sting much, as those are always flyers and could be pitted toward the end of the draft if Cleveland reaches its contention goals.
Losing Osman means losing one of the last vestiges of the second LeBron James era in Cleveland. He’s always been a consistent player for the Cavs, averaging nearly 10 points per game in the past six seasons. He just had his contract guaranteed for the coming year and should step into a 3-and-D role for San Antonio.
Stevens wasn’t as much a part of the rotation for Cleveland, but he remains a young and intriguing wing who is on a very cheap contract. If he wasn’t going to crack J.B. Bickerstaff’s rotation again this season, using him as a trade chip with the only option.
If the shooting was the team’s biggest off-season goal, Strus was the topper on the cake. The team already brought back wing Caris LeVert and signed fellow forward Georges Niang to a three-year deal, loading up on perimeter players.
Max Strus should help the Cleveland Cavaliers get over the first-round postseason hump next season.