The Miami Heat are famously pretty good at finding diamonds in the rough, developing them, and turning them into legitimately solid NBA players. One of the best examples of this in recent years has been Max Strus, the former undrafted wing who joined the Chicago Bulls’ system, tore his knee, and found himself without a team when Miami came calling.
Since then, Strus has become a player upon whom Erik Spoelstra relied, as his ability to stretch the floor has been important in the Heat’s success. Those guys end up getting expensive, though, and this summer, Strus hit unrestricted free agency, where he was expected to get a lucrative contract offer elsewhere in the league. Prior to free agency opening, there were strong indications that the Cavaliers were going to be in hot pursuit of Strus in a sign-and-trade, but they were struggling to find a third team to offload Cedi Osman to create the cap room needed to bring in the sharpshooter.
Jake Fischer reported the Spurs were a potential landing spot for Osman to facilitate the trade, as the Heat looked to at least get something back for Strus after seeing Gabe Vincent walk to the Lakers.
Being told San Antonio is a team to monitor in the developing three-team sign-and-trade talks that could bring Max Strus to Cleveland. The Cavaliers have been trying to find a trade for Cedi Osman this week, sources said.
— Jake Fischer (@JakeLFischer) July 1, 2023
This general framework ended up being correct, as Osman and Lamar Stevens will head to San Antonio along with a pick, while the Heat acquired a second-round pick. As for Strus, he’s headed to the Cavs on a 4-year deal worth $63 million.
Free agent Max Strus has agreed on a four-year, $63M sign-and-trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers, agent Mark Bartelstein of @PrioritySports tells ESPN. In three-team deal, Heat get a second-round pick and Spurs acquire Cedi Osman, Lamar Stevens and a second-rounder. pic.twitter.com/xKAmqlx3aF
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 1, 2023
Strus has gone from an occasional bench player for the Heat to someone who started every game in the playoffs during the team’s run to the NBA Finals last year. He posted some of the best numbers of his career during the 2022-23 campaign, as the 27-year-old wing averaged 11.5 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 2.1 assists in 28.4 minutes per game while connecting on 35 percent of his seven attempts from behind the three-point line a night.
He joins a Cavs team that had a very clear vision for this offseason, spending their money bolstering their wing rotation with Strus, Georges Niang, and re-signing Caris LeVert.