NBA insider: Cavs wisely aiming to swing deal

If one well-connected NBA insider is accurate, a big move — or more than one — is indeed coming for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Marc Stein, formerly of ESPN and now of the New York Times, sent out a pair of tweets Monday night saying this is just the calm before the storm, as far as the Cavaliers go.

Assuming Stein’s sources are accurate, and there’s no reason to believe otherwise, what realistic opportunities are out there for first-year Cavaliers general mnager Koby Altman to pursue?

Let’s start by saying this — every asset eligible to be moved should be on the table for the Cavaliers.

That means, everything and everyone not named LeBron James, who has a no-trade clause in his contract.

That also means the much-talked-about unprotected 2018 first-round draft pick of the Brooklyn Nets should be put on the table as a potential bargaining chip.

End of discussion. Period.

With Brooklyn going down again Monday night, 119-104, against the Knicks at Madison Square Garden, the pick is increasing in value every time the Nets lose, an occurrence which is likely to happen more and more often as the season progresses.

So, back to the point, in order of preference, here are one guy’s preferred — realistic — choices, in order, to pursue (and by “realistic” it means Anthony Davis is not coming through that door):

* 1. Paul George, Oklahoma City. I’m in the minority on this, I realize (nothing knew by the way, but I digress), but there feeling here is a two-way, 3-and-D guy is more important to Cleveland in another potential matchup with Golden State than a rim protector.

As they are presently constructed, the Cavaliers are not beating the Warriors, not Christmas Day, not Monday night and not in The Finals, as our own Sam Amico wrote in his terrific column from Quicken Loans Arena on Monday night after Golden State’s 10-point win.

Know what, though? Neither are the Thunder, and they don’t even have a shot to reach The Finals.

With George headed to unrestricted free agency this summer, OKC has to know it’s Big Three of Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony and George looked great on paper and was fun while it lasted, but can’t get out of the West.

Not happening.

If it takes the Brooklyn pick and perhaps Tristan Thompson and another piece to make the deal. Yesterday, in fact.

George would give the Cavaliers a perfect combination with him and James starting in the frontcourt with Kevin Love, and with Isaiah Thomas as the starting point guard, George taking the challenge of being first in line to try and D up Kevin Durant.

It would also allow Jae Crowder to return to his role as a high-energy bench player. Crowder has been overexposed this season as a member of the starting lineup.

* 2. Everyone else.

This probably comes off as a copout, but from this corner, the only guy who moves the needle enough for Cleveland in a matchup with Golden State is George.

There are other upgrades, obviously, but from here, they would not be enough.

DeMarcus Cousins and DeAndre Jordan have been mentioned in rumor after rumor, especially Jordan, of late. While both big men could offer rim protection and in Cousins’ case, plenty of offense, whom would either match up with defensively against the Warriors?

In short, the view from here is, Altman should do whatever is necessary to chase George. If it takes the much-coveted Brooklyn pick to get it done, so be it.

Face it, if James decides to bolt again in free agency this summer after he declines his player option, the ship has sailed, anyway.

Go get George, but also chase the likes of Courtney Lee of the Knicks, Wesley Matthews of the Mavericks, Kent Bazemore of the Hawks and, here’s a name which has not been mentioned — Rodney Hood of the Jazz.

Utah is traditionally one of the most active teams and Hood, a 6-foot-8 left-handed swingman is having a career season, averaging 16.5 points a game and so drastically on the cheap. Hood is making only $2,386,864 this season, or 20 percent of what the Cavaliers are paying Iman Shumpert (to deal with another injury) or, get this, not even six percent of what they are paying J.R. Smith to play The Invisible Man.

The scary part for those who follow the Cavaliers, though, is this — even if LeBron reups with the Wine and Gold next summer, will there be enough around him to even get out of the East, let alone get back to The Finals?

Meaning, the ball is squarely in the court of Altman, who as the second-youngest GM in the league, is tasked with enormous responsibilities.

Namely, keeping James happy, upgrading the roster and doing so with limited chips in which to do so.

All of which paves the way for what is sure to be daily drama leading up to the Feb. 8 trade deadline.

12 Comments on "NBA insider: Cavs wisely aiming to swing deal"

  1. Or…. Why not ask LeBron if he wants to be traded? I don’t see LeBron carrying this Cavaliers team to the Finals this season without Kyrie. IT isn’t it. So maybe we can get him to play for a contender and gain a king’s ransom in draft picks or young players with at least a relatively high ceiling.

    • Lebron’s too smart for that, insiders mentioned this in the off-season, he wouldn’t pull a Carmelo and gut a teams assets and/or roster in a trade, when he can just sign after this season. Then that team could use those assets to keep building around his window that’s only getting shorter. Even if they can’t afford to sign him, he can pull a CP3 and say, “I’m not resigning with you, but I’ll pick up my option and you can trade me to team X for whatever they’re willing to give up, or lose me for nothing.”

      • Wait. So LeBron wouldn’t gut the team’s assets his going to? You mean like he did the Cavaliers in 2014-15? If LeBron can win one or more why not? He wants to be better than Jordan when it’s done. The Cavaliers aren’t contending for anything other than a playoff spot at the moment. I don’t see Shumpert and DRose making that much of a difference when they get healthy.

  2. they ned to get paul george. And then trade for jhon henson and matthew dellavedova both are on the trade block and both are great defensively. Also delly is another 3 and d guy who has proven he can guard steph. All we would have to give up is frye, and either shumpert or smith and a 2nd round pick. they need to get rid of smith, frye, and shumpert anyway

  3. I don’t care where you sent Thompson, just get him the hell off the team. Everyone keeps mentioning Deandre Jordan, Marc Gasol and Greg Monroe as potential replacements at center, but it’s going to be hard to move TT without attaching that Nets pick to his awful contract… unless you were to go after an older center who a struggling team would want to replace wth a younger Thompson… enter the Charlotte Hornets… why not offer up Thompson in exchange for Dwight Howard? The Hornets shed themselves of Howard’s contract, and we shed ourselves of the Kardashian Curse, all the while landing a legit starting center who can keep Love at PF where he belongs. We then use the Nets pick in a separate deal with another team to shed JR Smith or Shumpert’s salary and pick up a starting SG like Paul George, Bazemore, etc…. and to anyone who wants to argue that Howard is not a good fit here or that he’s overpaid… what is Tristan Thompson doing here? TT is actually guaranteed more money over the next 3 seasons than Howard is over the next 2, so what do we have to lose? Replacing Thompson and Smith with Howard and George would be well worth it to me. Charlotte is clearly not going to even be a playoff team this year, let alone a contender, so i could easily see them swapping Howard for the younger , cheaper Thompson. Our championship window is closing, so we need to assemble a team with enough talent to win NOW. Like I said, my reasoning for going after Hoaward is because he might be the only starting center we can get without using that Nets pick. If we can use the Nets pick to get a SG like George or Bazemore, then we will be ready to compete for a championship. But first and foremost, we need to get rid of the Tristan Thompson. We have 2 needs that need to be addressed (center and SG) and we can kill 2 birds with 1 stone if we do it this way. Use Thompson to get Howard, and then use the Nets pick to get a starting SG (George, Bazemore, Hood, etc.)

  4. In 3 games vs.the Warriors DeMarcus Cousins averaging in only 32 minutes …. 23 Pts, 11 Reb, 5 Assts., 3 Blocks …. Can defend inside, rebound, block shots and can score from anywhere on the floor …. Put him in the middle with Lebron, and Love not even the Warriors could stop that tandem ….. Cousins is the man I want to see the Cavs get ….

  5. dwight howard is good but the best bet would be to get henson because he has been on the trade block since the fall and they want to get rid of him and his contract to make room for thon maker and their other centers. Henson can run the floor and is a presence inside. Plus if you give them frye who has 1 year left on his deal and shumpert, also zizic who will never really play for us. we could easily get him and delly. we need delly back he is a great 3 and d guy and would be another playmaker on the bench. Also he would gel with the bench because he is so unselfish. then the cavs need to get george and try and get aminu from the blazers. aminu could start at sf and we could put lebron at sg where he is already. plus aminu would match up great with giannias and durant in the playoffs, he is also a 3 and d guy. and all we would be giving up in these deals would be the nets pick(which is useless since lebron is staying), sumpert,zizic,smith, and frye and thompson which are all useless to us which is evident this season.

  6. While its not my first choice to play this game with LeBron (he could extend today but prefers not to, as if we wouldnt try to win it all if he did), ill play the game for moment to suggest some trades.

    TT is better than Cleveland’s scapegoating nature will acknowledge. He was out a month and is starting to get back into game shape. He also is in a new role and making the adjustments. But since Kyrie’s not around to point the finger at, he’s next on LeBron’s list to go. So here’s some appease the King suggestions. Main pieces are mentioned here, salary can be matched using Shump, Crowder, Zizic.

    TT for Serge Ibaka. Toronto gets their hometown boy, Cavs get rim protection and spot up shooting. Poetel has emerged in Toronto making Serge expendable. No picks offered. Toronto would say yes.

    TT and Cavs late first rounder for Dwight Howard. Charlotte isnt going anywhere this season, and are about to blow it up. Cavs get rim protection and rebounding.

    TT and Shump and Bkln pick for Marc Gasol. I dont buy that Gasol is almost finished at age 33, he has an old man’s game already. Very cerebral player who can score from anywhere, and make everyone better with his passing. Also a smart defender. Only issue is his personality would clash with how things are run in Cleveland, he’s a team guy. We’d get at least 3 or 4 more years of contender status if LBJ and he can team up in Cleveland.

    • i agree with you about tt but he is a better reggie evans who used to play for brooklyn we do not need a rebounder we need a paint protector who can run the floor like thompson. But we also do not want to get rid of any picks so that is why i suggested henson he can run the floor and he can protect the paint. also we could get delly back who is a 3 and d guy. They both have fallen out of the rotation because of thon maker and bledsoe so we could both of them for next to nothing. we also need a wing defender that is also why i suggested al faraq aminu who is 6/10 and can guard all five positions and shoots around 38% from deep because these guys would cost nothing and would help the cavs out alot especially aminu who could slide into jae crowder’s rule of guarding durant/best player and make lebron guard the shooting guard spot.

  7. and let crowder come of the bench as a 3 and d like he did so well in boston.

    • The Cavs have 2 players playing out of position in Love and Crowder. A shooting guard averaging 8 shots per game. An old team with a coach that doesnt play young players or go deep on the bench. And to think that giving up the Brooklyn pick for a rental in Paul George will solve the problem.

  8. The math in this article is worse than what my 3rd grade son is capable of when the contracts of Rodney Hood, JR and Shump are mentioned. In what world is 2.3 million only 6 percent of 12 million?

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