As this year’s NBA trade deadline draws near (February 23rd), quite a few teams around the association are looking for viable players to bolster their respective rosters, including the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers.
It’s a well-known fact that the Cavs, who have lost five of their last seven games, are in need of a capable backup point guard to run the offense off the bench. Losing key rotational players from last season like Matthew Dellavedova, Mo Williams, and Timofey Mozgov seems to be having more of an impact than first expected.
The Cavs simply weren’t able (or maybe not willing) to match the four-year, $39 million offer presented to Dellavedova by the Milwaukee Bucks. “Delly,” as he was affectionately known in Cleveland, provided a solid defensive presence off the bench and a motor that just wouldn’t quit running. Losing a player like that obviously hurts.
In the case of Williams – well, LeBron James says the Cavs “got hosed”, as Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com writes in his recent article. Williams was meant to be Cleveland’s backup point guard this year, but the veteran elected to retire just before the start of this season, leaving the Cavs with only two legit point guards: Kyrie Irving and rookie Kay Felder.
The Cavs lost Mozgov to the Los Angeles Lakers in free agency and brought in 38-year-old veteran big man, Chris Andersen, to help fill the void. That move looked good on paper – until Andersen tore his ACL in the early phases of the season (December). So, now, the Cavs are left with only a few viable “bigs”.
David Griffin, Cavs General Manager, has recently stated that depth at point guard may not be the team’s top priority, as he told reporters after Cleveland’s acquisition of Kyle Korver: “I’m not necessarily sure we’re on that page.” James seems to think otherwise, however. After last night’s 124-122 loss to the New Orleans Peilcans inside The Smoothie King Center, a seemingly urgent James spoke to reporters with regards to wasting time.
We’re not better than last year, from a personnel standpoint.”
“I don’t know what we got to offer,” James said. “I just know me personally? I don’t got no time to waste. I’ll be 33 in the winter, and I ain’t got time to waste. That’s what I’m talking about.”
“We need a f—— playmaker,” James said. I’m not saying you can just go find one, like you can go outside and see trees. I didn’t say that (to Griffin).”
With all of that being said, let’s take a look at which players the defending champs, who have but limited trade resources, might be willing to give up in a deal.
– Cedi Osman:
Osman, 21, was selected with the 31st overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves. The 6’8″ swingman was traded on draft night to the Cavaliers. Subsequently, The Cavs sent the rights to Tyus Jones to the Timberwolves. Osman is currently averaging a career-high 8.8 points per game for his Turkish ball club, Anadolu Efes Istanbul. With each passing day, Osman is becoming a more polished basketball player. Some teams around the league are already showing interest in Osman.
– Jordan McRae:
McRae, 25, is a player who has endeared himself to not only the Cavaliers organization, but also to their players and fans. McRae was selected with the 58th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft by the San Antonio Spurs. After gaining an initial head of steam with the Cavaliers, the former Tennessee Volunteer stand-out has all but fallen out of their rotation due to DeAndre Liggins’ ascent. McRae is an extremely capable guard. Quick handles, great court vision, and the ability to create a shot are all elements of the 6’5″ shooting guard’s game. Like Osman, several teams acorss the association have expressed interest in McRae, but most teams just aren’t willing to offer that much for his services.
– Iman Shumpert:
With J.R. Smith out for another 10-12 weeks due to a fractured right thumb, Shumpert, 26, has been seeing increased playing time. There is no doubt about it, “Shump,” as the former Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket is known, is an integral cog in the machine that is the Cavaliers. Let’s not forget the fact that most Cavs fans love Shumpert’s style of play. So far this season, the 6’5″ defensive specialist is averaging 7.7 points, 2.8 rebounds, and 1.6 assists per game. There hasn’t been a lot of trade talk surrounding Shumpert at this point, but he could be among the players on the Cavaliers’ trading block. In fact, he’d likely be Cleveland’s most valuable trade chip – IF they’re willing to part with him.
For now, all of this trade talk is mere speculation. Whether or not the Cavs elect to move any of these guys will be an interesting story to watch as we start the second half of the season. With only one month until the trade deadline, you can expect most teams to make a move fairly soon.