The Cleveland Cavaliers took a patient approach this offseason in signing free agents. Their only signing as of the end of August was Lauri Markkanen through a sign-and-trade deal. Over the last week, the Cavs have been active adding more depth to their young roster.
What Valentine’s signing means
Adding wings was one of Cleveland’s biggest needs of the offseason. They finally signed a wing over the weekend. Denzel Valentine, the former Chicago Bull, was signed to a two-year deal.
— Chris Fedor (@ChrisFedor) September 11, 2021
After signing Valentine, the Cavaliers waived the backup guard Damyean Dotson. Both Valentine and Dotson are similar players, so look for Valentine to play almost the same role as Dotson did. Valentine averaged 6.5 points last season while playing only 16.7 minutes per game. He had some of his worst shooting averages in his career shooting 37.3% and 33.1% from three.
The main reason Valentine was essentially picked over Dotson was likely due to his potential. He was a former star in college and was the 14th pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. Valentine hasn’t panned out in the NBA, but he does bring some defensive versatility with his wingspan of nearly 6-foot-10. He will bring some help to Cleveland’s wing depth.
What will be interesting is how minutes are split among the Cavs’ wing players. Valentine will be competing for minutes with Cedi Osman, Dylan Windler, Lamar Stevens and the starter Isaac Okoro. If Valentine has a solid season, Osman’s role could be in danger. There is already a sense that Osman could be on his way out of Cleveland sooner rather than later. Valentine’s play will have a big impact on Osman’s future.
What Pangos’ signing means
Another one of Cleveland’s dire needs during free agency was getting some point guard depth. When Darius Garland dealt with some injuries last season, the point guard position was a mess for the Cavaliers. The only player they had to play some point guard outside of Garland and Collin Sexton was Dotson. Dotson is 6-foot-5 and is traditionally a shooting guard, he doesn’t have the playmaking abilities of the ideal backup point guard.
On draft night, the Cavaliers made their first move to address their point guard depth when they traded for Ricky Rubio. Roughly a week ago, Cleveland signed Kevin Pangos from the Euro League. Pangos played his college ball at Gonzaga and was a floor general. Last season in the Euro League, Pangos had a great season and proved he deserves an opportunity in the NBA.
Pangos averaged 13.5 points, 6.6 assists, shot nearly 45% and shot 39% from three. He will bring some much-needed three-point shooting help to the Cavs’ roster. Pangos might not play a lot since both Garland and probably Rubio will be in front of him on the roster. However, he does bring some veteran experience at 28-years-old that will help the Cavaliers’ youngsters.
Overall, Pangos is a savvy playmaking point guard that can really score at any level and can facilitate the ball well. No NBA roster can be successful when nearly every major contributor is 25 or younger. They needed to add some experience, and while Pangos hasn’t played in the NBA, his experience won’t go unnoticed. Take a look at some of Pangos’ play in the Euro League.
Cleveland #Cavaliers signing Kevin Pangos to two-year, $3.5M contract 👀
The 28-year old point guard is a walkin' bucket 💦🎯 pic.twitter.com/0fVwEuWfre
— NBA Analysis Network (@HoopAnalysisNet) September 9, 2021
Cleveland’s 2021-22 roster
The Cavaliers could be done making any major offseason moves after signing Valentine and Pangos. Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com reported the Cavaliers could look to make one more “minor” signing.
After today's pair of moves — waiving Damyean Dotson and signing Denzel Valentine — #Cavs are likely to make one more minor signing for the training camp roster.
— Chris Fedor (@ChrisFedor) September 11, 2021
As Fedor said, this would be a signing for their training camp roster. It would simply be a player that has an outside-shot of making the 2021-22 Cleveland roster. Unless any unexpected player makes the Cavs’ roster after training camp, it looks like the bench will consist of Markkanen, Evan Mobley or Kevin Love, Dean Wade, Osman, Windler, Stevens, Rubio, Pangos and Valentine.
The last couple of roster spots will be earned through training camp. Mfiondu Kabengele, Tacko Fall, Brodric Thomas and R.J. Nembhard Jr. are the players that could grab the last few spots. Nembhard would be a surprise, but he does bring some scoring ability and would add more wing depth.
With about one month before the NBA season begins, the Cavaliers’ 2021-22 roster looks almost set, barring any major trades. Without a doubt, Cleveland certainly improved this season. Koby Altman, the Cavs General Manager, addressed some of the Cavaliers’ biggest weaknesses from last season.