In the past couple of years, it has become customary for the Cleveland Cavaliers to struggle in the month of January. In LeBron’s first season back in Cleveland, he actually took two weeks off in order to reset, both mentally and physically. In the meantime, former Cavs G.M. David Griffin began to turn the Cavaliers into a real contender adding Timofey Mozgov, J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert. Since then, Smith has been up and down in terms of production but seemed to have a clear cut role as the team’s starting microwave. Mozgov was let go for “the bag” and Iman Shumpert has been a consistent defensive contributor. The 2015–16 season was the most complete from top to bottom that the Cavaliers have had. They had a positive record each month and posted a defensive rating of 104.5, good for tenth that season. Although they made a coaching change, the makeup of the Cavaliers remained intact as they made a historic playoff run. The 2016–17 season, however, was tumultuous to say the least. The Cavaliers had a 7–8 month of January, a 7–10 March and plenty of arguments over playmakers and D.Williams’s. Though the Cavaliers had their glaring defensive issues in the second half of the season, they showed flashes early on that they were capable of being a good defensive team (DRtg108 first half, DRtg 114 second half). Besides, they were the champions and besides acquiring Korver and Deron Williams the team was exactly the same from the season before.
Like the 2014–15 season, changes were needed, issues were glaring and certainly are this season. Cleveland acquired/signed Isaiah Thomas, Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade, Jae Crowder, Jeff Green, Cedi Osman and Ante Zizic this offseason. Growing pains were going to occur regardless. Cleveland began the season 5–7, including a four game losing streak. This was to be expected after trading Kyrie Irving and playing without Isaiah Thomas. Cleveland then went on an 18–1 stretch and “appeared” to had fixed the issues that had plagued them early in the season. They managed to get their DRtg down to 107 and put forth much more effort than in the first twelve games. The most glaring stat over the last ten Cleveland games(3–7) is their defensive rating…. Wait for it…. 118……. Opponents have shot 49.6% from the field over this stretch. The way this roster is currently constructed definitely has a great chance to beat the competition in the Eastern Conference and return to the NBA Finals. But if the goal is to win a championship, changes are more than necessary.
29th in DRtg, 25th in Opp PPG
(Even through all of the turmoil on the defensive end the Cavaliers are quietly 4th in Offensive Rating and 5th in PPG).
CLE Sends: Iman Shumpert, Tristan Thompson and 2018 NBA Draft Pick (Via BKN)
LAC Sends: DeAndre Jordan, Lou Williams
This deal may be difficult for the Clippers to accept with the recent play of Lou Williams. Cleveland would benefit greatly from adding DeAndre Jordan. He would add superior rim protection and league leading rebounding (14.9). Lou would be an interesting fit, but his offensive ability on and off of the ball would bolster an already great Cleveland offense. The Clippers get a younger center in Tristan Thompson, a good wing in Iman Shumpert and can boost a rebuild with a top ten pick from Brooklyn.
CLE Sends: J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert, Tristan Thompson and 2018 NBA Draft Pick(Via BKN)
CHA Sends: Jeremy Lamb, Dwight Howard, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
Charlotte looks lost. Though Head Coach Steve Clifford has been out, they haven’t looked good this season. In this deal they can remain average on the wings and have the opportunity to give Malik Monk and Dwayne Bacon more minutes. They alsoreceive a young center in Tristan Thompson who could be effective alongside Kemba Walker. The Brooklyn pick would give Charlotte the opportunity to retain two picks in the 5–8 range in a draft which has eight extremely promising prospects. Cleveland gets two young wings who excel on the defensive end of the floor in MKG and Lamb. While Dwight Howard is not the player that he once was, he has played great this season. Alongside LeBron and company, Dwight could step his play up even more on a winning squad. (*My Favorite Deal*)
CLE Sends: J.R. Smith, Tristan Thompson, 2018 NBA Draft Pick(via BKN)
MEM Sends: Marc Gasol, Tyreke Evans, Wayne Selden
This deal is unlikely as the Grizzlies organization made the decision to side with Gasol over Coach David Fizdale. But it could be intriguing for both sides. Cleveland gets a All-Star caliber center in Marc Gasol a resurgent Tyreke Evans and a young piece in Wayne Selden. Tyreke would step in and be an instant creator and shooter for the Cavaliers who has shown that he can be a better defender than J.R. Smith (Not a difficult task, but it is the main goal in every trade scenario). Wayne Selden could be grown into a rotational player if LeBron leaves or if they lose some of their older wings this off-season. The intrigue for the Grizzlies comes from a serviceable piece in Tristan Thompson and the Brooklyn pick. The Grizzlies will be forced to forfeit their pick to Boston if it lands 9–30 in 2019, 7–30 in 2020 and in 2021 if they haven’t already given them a pick by then. This draft projects to be extremely top heavy and the more chances of getting players in the top eight, the better. They would have a high possibility of retaining a top 3 pick and a top 8 pick, giving them an opportunity to get two of(Porter, Doncic, Young, Ayton, Bamba, Sexton,Jackson Jr., Bagley). The Grizzlies would also avoid having to pay Tyreke Evans next season as they are already capped out.
CLE Sends: Iman Shumpert, Tristan Thompson
DAL Sends: Wesley Matthews, Nerlens Noel
Dallas has not shown a desire to pay or play Nerlens Noel this season. He has been out with a thumb injury as of late, but early on he averaged around twelve minutes a game. Tristan Thompson gives the Mavericks a serviceable player at the center on a decent contract. Wesley Matthews could step into the starting role for J.R. and allow J.R. to be a heat-check only player. Shumpert is included as a salary match. How Dallas feels about Shumpert as a player and his 2019 expiring contract would ultimately determine if this deal would be completed.
CLE Sends: Jae Crowder, Iman Shumpert, J.R. Smith, 2018 NBA Draft Pick(Via BKN)
POR Sends:C.J. McCollum, Al Farouq Aminu
Let’s say Portland goes on a five game losing streak or loses ten out of fifteen games over the next month and a half. It would definitely make the Portland front office think about what they are doing and where they are going with this current roster. They have the fifth highest payroll in the league and currently stand at 22–20 losing their last two contests. Crowder, Shumpert and J.R. Smith are certainly capable of being servicable role players and would allow for Dame to go off. The Brooklyn pick would also give them an opportunity to get a young star in Bamba, Ayton, Porter Jr., Bagley or Jaren Jackson Jr. They need to cut payroll if their destiny is a first round exit each season and with Shumpert and Smith’s contracts both expiring in 2019 they would have a great chance to add a big time free agent to the core of Lillard + “Young Star”. Cleveland receives McCollum and Al Farouq Aminu. McCollum can fill it up with the best of them and would help make for not only one of the scariest offenses in the league, but of all time. Aminu would serve as a swiss army knife, guarding the other team’s best forward, relieving LeBron of that pressure and would be an upgrade over the production Crowder has given the Cavaliers this season.
CLE Sends: Tristan Thompson, JR Smith, Iman Shumpert, 2018 NBA Draft Pick(Via BKN)
DET Sends: Andre Drummond, Avery Bradley
This trade scenario is also dependent on how the Pistons season is going but, if anyone in the organization becomes frustrated with how the season is playing out they may look to rebuild. Tristan, JR, and Iman could keep them competitive in the next season while they attempt to rebuild around their future lottery picksAvery Bradley is one of the best wing defenders in the league, who also has a good offensive game. The Cavs acquisition of Bradley would create some Celtics synergy along with Crowder and Thomas. Drummond has looked great this season. His ability to grab defend and command an offense would be extremely valuable to the Cavaliers.
CLE Sends: Tristan Thompson, Iman Shumpert, 2018 NBA Draft Pick (Via BKN)
SAC Sends: George Hill, Willie Cauley-Stein, Buddy Hield
Sacramento is lottery bound for the foreseeable future. Like the next several seasons…This experiment of mixing veterans with young players hasn’t panned out like they had planned. George Hill is making twenty million a year, while taking away developmental minutes from top five pick De’Aaron Fox. I know the Kings are high on Buddy Hield but the combination of receiving a top eight pick in a deeper draft and, a serviceable starting center in Tristan Thompson would be worthy compensation. Cleveland gets a major upgrade defensively in George Hill, who can play both guard spots. A young, athletic center in Willie Cauley-Stein,who they can grow over time while he contributes. And a knock down shooter in Buddy Hield(44% from 3).
CLE Sends: Jae Crowder, Iman Shumpert, 2020 2nd Round Pick(Via MIA)
OKC Sends: Paul George
If Oklahoma City struggles and falls under .500 before the trade deadline, you better believe they’ll consider moving Paul George. If more and more rumors come out about his imminence to sign with L.A. this off-season, it will both, lower his price and cause the Thunder to want some compensation from having a player of his caliber. Jae Crowder and Iman Shumpert would give needed depth to a Thunder squad lacking in competent wings. They are much less dynamic than Paul George offensively, yet could fit in well as they would fully play off of Westbrook. Adding Paul George to Cleveland would have the potential to be “scary”. George is a DPOY candidate and a perennial 20+ per game scorer. His skill set could give the Cavaliers a huge boost defensively, and the ability to become even more dynamic offensively.
CLE Sends: Tristan Thompson(Orl), JR Smith(CHA), Iman Shumpert(CHA), 2018 NBA Draft Pick(Via BKN)(Cha)
ORL Sends: Bismack Biyombo(Cle), Jonathon Simmons(Cle)
CHA Sends: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist(Cle), Jeremy Lamb(Cle)
In this three team deal, the Cavaliers would receive Biyombo, Simmons, Kidd-Gilchrist and Lamb. Every area of their issues are addressed in this trade. Biyombo is the rim protector they need, while Simmons, Kidd-Gilchrist and Lamb would make for an energetic group of wings, equipped to challenge the Warriors as best as humanly possible.The Magic could look to unload Biyombo because of his contract, receieve a younger Tristan Thompson(yes i know Biyombo’s birthday may be after Thompson’s but you cannot convince me he is actually younger) and gain wings that can be useful on a competitive team. The Magic will be in the running for the #1 overall pick this season and have little use for a guy like Johnathon Simmons. It is in their best interest to dump salary, (Shump and J.R.’s contracts expire in 2019) and rebuild for the future, for real this time.