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Some news, notes and random inside stuff on the Cleveland Cavaliers.
1. Several opposing teams are interested in shooting guard Jordan Clarkson and swingman Cedi Osman, though as far as I can tell, no one has reached out to the Cavs about either player. It is not known if the Cavs are open to trading Clarkson or Osman. But I bet they are.
2. The Cavs are very clearly in a mode where they will listen to offers for everyone. But as I wrote Tuesday, there is a difference between listening to offers and actively shopping the player. The Cavs will shop a few; they will listen on everyone.
3. It appears general manager Koby Altman and the front office are determined to keep three players — Collin Sexton, Kevin Love and yes, Tristan Thompson. The Cavs envision those three with, say, Duke stars Zion Williamson or R.J. Barrett next season and suddenly, Cleveland pro basketball will look a lot more interesting.
4. As for Thompson, the Cavs were hopeful of moving his contract prior to the season. But everyone in the organization has been extremely impressed with his determination, his overall play and his leadership. He is out for a few weeks with an ankle sprain, but if this continues, the Cavs will view their center as vital piece moving forward (and pay him again when the time comes).
5. Basically, it’s been a far cry from last season for Thompson, and the organization is thrilled to have him on the floor and in the locker room today.
6. It’s hard to imagine either Rodney Hood or Alec Burks being on the team following the Feb. 7 deadline. Both have smaller, expiring contracts. I’ve heard Burks is already drawing interest, with the Boston Celtics and injury-plagued Denver Nuggets among the teams mentioned. The Philadelphia 76ers are said to be among those with an interest in Hood.
7. By all indications the Cavs are not ready to give up on Osman. They would ask for a lot more than they could probably get for him in a trade. They are viewing it as if this is really his rookie season, since his playing time was sporadic last year. And he does indeed look like a rookie. What is a bit concerning is he’s suddenly having fewer games where you think he has All-Star potential.
8. Still, not every player has to be an All-Star. You mostly need starting-caliber guys, and Osman still has time to prove he will be one on a winning team. The jury is still out, and that’s OK. The Los Angeles Clippers are one team with a supposed interest in Osman.
9. With the Houston Rockets and New Orleans Pelicans showing interest, the Cavs are also hopeful of moving J.R. Smith soon. They will take back just about anyone at this point. The Rockets are supposedly looking to move point guard Brandon Knight, who probably won’t have a role there even when healthy. The Cavs would gladly take him as part of a trade for Smith.
10. For those of you screaming “tank the season,” just a quick reminder: This is the season when the NBA institutes the new draft system. Each of the three worst teams will have the same shot of winning the lottery. Teams with the fourth- and fifth-worst records are BARELY behind the top three.
11. So the Cavs don’t need to finish with the worst record. As long as they fall among the five worst they will have a darn good shot at the No. 1 overall pick. Or at least about as good as the other four worst.
12. Finally, yes, Altman and the Cavs are continuing to look for deal after deal after deal. Opposing executives have said that even after the trades of Kyle Korver and George Hill/Sam Dekker, the Cavs continue to make calls and have lots of trade-related conversations.