With the Cleveland Cavaliers choosing to invest in the young talent that they have at the position, they’re testing the trade market for 16-year veteran Kyle Korver. Korver, who was brought to Cleveland in order to space the floor and be one of LeBron James’ premier off-ball targets, is out-of-place in a Cleveland offense without the movement or facilitators to maximize his skillset.
That said, it’s better for the Cavaliers to trade Korver — who is likely their most moveable veteran player because of his mix of production and affordability — rather than tethering him to a team that’s trying to find it’s direction. Especially when that player has considered retiring.
Here are three potential trade suitors for the Cavaliers in their quest to trade Korver, a 37-year-old shooting guard who’s ranked fourth all-time in the NBA in made threes.
The Philadelphia 76ers and Korver are as close to a perfect match as you can find in terms of a trade partner. The Sixers, who Korver played for from the 2003-04 season to 2007, are in dire need of an accurate three-point shooter. For all of their three-point attempts (34.9, ranked eighth in the NBA) they only rank 18th in three-point percentage (35.0 percent) and Korver, who has made 43.1 percent of his three-point attempts for his career is a player that they could utilize off the bench in ways similar to J.J. Redick.
A player that can create space for Ben Simmons’ drives and Joel Embiid’s post-ups, Korver is also capable of playing an efficient two-man game with big men because of the attention he draws on the perimeter and his high basketball IQ.
In a trade with Philadelphia, the Cavaliers could try to secure a late first-round draft pick while trading for Sixers point guard Jerryd Bayless to make the salaries work. However, they could also try to secure a young prospect, like shooting guard Furkan Korkmaz, as well. Unlike Korver, Bayless is on the final season of his contract.
While Bayless wouldn’t play unless their was an injury at his position, with 10 seasons of experience under his belt he’s a veteran that can be another voice to help rookie point guard Collin Sexton and ready to perform if his number is called.
The Boston Celtics are another team that’s hoisting up a solid number of three-point attempts, as they’re getting up 36.3 per game (ranked fourth in the NBA), per NBA Advanced Stats. However, converting just 34.8 percent of their three-point attempts (ranked 21st in the NBA), the Celtics are another team clearly in need of an elite three-point threat.
Even more important for the Celtics, who have quite a few players who are at their best making plays off-the-dribble, is finding a player who can thrive off-ball. Korver is a player who doesn’t need to dribble the ball to get hot and, with that ability, he can play off of players like Kyrie Irving, Terry Rozier and Marcus Smart.
The only player that it makes sense for the Cavaliers to call the Celtics about in a trade that involves Korver is power forward Marcus Morris. A versatile power forward in the midst who has caught on fire early in the season with a true shooting percentage of 66.1, Morris is a player that Cleveland could use in the second unit when All-Star power forward Kevin Love returns but also in the first unit until Love returns.
Boston has plenty of depth at the power forward position and Morris, whose on his last year, may not re-sign considering the amount of salary they’ll have devoted to younger players. Korver, who has two seasons left on his deal, may not be enough to acquire Morris straight-up but he gets Cleveland in the conversation.
From beyond the arc, the Los Angeles Clippers function in a manner that is the polar opposite of the Sixers and Celtics. They only attempt 24.4 three-pointers per game (27th in the NBA) but they convert 39.1 percent of their three-point attempts (tied for sixth in the NBA). The Clippers could look at a player like Korver as an adequate replacement for the struggling Avery Bradley, although Korver has also been inefficient this season.
With so many players on one-year deals for Los Angeles, it would seem like this could turn into a larger trade if the Cleveland Cavaliers want to get off the contract of a veteran like George Hill or J.R. Smith. Like the Cavaliers, the Clippers find themselves in NBA purgatory, fighting for a playoff position though knowing they’re far less talented than squads like the Golden State Warriors.
However, it’s much more likely, that the two strike a more simple deal. Korver for former EuroLeague sensation Milos Teodisic and a young prospect like Sindarius Thornwell is a trade that could work for both sides. Don’t underestimate the impact that Teodisic, an elite passer, can make on Sexton or the Cavaliers. Remember how valuable Jose Calderon, a savvy veteran point guard who was a premier facilitator, was for Cleveland last season.