Writer: Caleb Akpan
The Cleveland Cavaliers are in a bit of a weird place. Their roster is far from being bad, in fact, on paper, it’s probably one of the best in the league. The problem is they’re a bit older and to add onto that, they’re defense is some of the weakest in the NBA. With that, they’ve struggled lately, and if things keep up, they could dip out of home-court advantage by the end of the season. What’s important to remember about Cleveland is that this isn’t the first time they’ve gone through some in-season troubles, but just like the other times, most fans and analysts are choosing to hit the panic button instead of waiting anything out, and with the trade deadline approaching, rumors of the Cavs making a move are beginning to flare up. Let’s take a look at some of their options and whether or not they’re even realistic.
Charlotte’s franchise player is up for grabs according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, and for some reason, people think that means he’s headed to Cleveland. While the Cavs have the salary and draft pick to make an offer, the fit just doesn’t seem to be there. LeBron James loves to have the ball in his hands and Isaiah Thomas is an all-star point guard, though he’s obviously still trying to return to that form after returning from injury. Plus, with Walker being so important to the Hornets franchise until now, it’s possible their front office is looking for a bigger return then the a solid pick and a couple of role players. If that’s not the case, there still doesn’t seem to be enough playing time or possessions for Kemba to be the most effective option.
Hill is one of a couple of players the Cavs have an interest in pursuing, according to multiple sources. Like Walker, he’s a guard that really needs the ball to succeed, but it helps that he’s having a bit of a down year and is playing for a Sacramento team in full embrace of tanking. The package the Cavaliers can offer should be enticing, and likely wouldn’t have to include Brooklyn’s pick if Sacramento wants to move on with their young players so badly, but once again, ball handlers don’t seem to be the biggest issue for Cleveland. They need some serious defenders, and Hill has never been considered elite in his career. It would make a lot more sense for Cleveland to go after a rim protector or lockdown perimeter defender over Hill.
Williams is probably the one exception to Cleveland avoiding more guards and players in need of the ball. The man simply puts the ball in the basket most of the time you get it to him, enough to be in serious consideration for an All-Star appearance and Sixth Man of the Year accolades. Williams has an ability to supplant himself on new teams so well that he’d likely be able to steal playing time from starter J.R. Smith and maybe even end up as one of the team’s top options. While he’s the exact opposite kind of player of what the Cavaliers need, his offensive game is so strong that it could likely help to mask some of the Cavs’ defensive issues. The real question is if the Clippers are seriously interested in trading him. Selling high incase of a potential drop-off would be smart, but he’s also emerged as a top option for a team on the cusp of the playoffs. The Clippers need to first make a decision on where there season is headed before Williams to Cleveland becomes realistic, and the same goes for any of his teammates…..
If the Clippers are going to blow it up, sending DeAndre Jordan to Cleveland makes sense. Jordan’s been at the top of the league in terms of rim protection for the past couple of years, and would provide the Cavaliers with an All-Star and former All-NBA player at a position where there options are OK, but do the Clippers want OK players in return for longest tenured player? Do the Cavs see Jordan as worthy of trading Brooklyn’s first round pick? Reports have said that’s a no, but it also seems unlikely that L.A. would be interested in other assets. Until both sides can get closer on their wants in discussions, that’s probably all this scenario will ever be, but don’t be shocked if one of the sides crack as deadline day nears.
Chances: Low (for now)
All four of the players listed above would be very interesting options for The Land, but remember, it is the Cavaliers. They could not make a move at all and probably still make the Finals the way they switch team intensity on and off. Does it seem a little less likely than prior years? Sure, but it’s tough to underestimate this team with its roster and it’s history, we’ll see if they feel they have to make a splash soon enough. The NBA’s trade deadline is now less than 20 days away…….