I didn’t think the Cleveland Cavaliers would pull off a trade before the NBA trade deadline. I didn’t think they would find a sucker – ERRRR, I mean “partner” – for eternal malcontent Isaiah Thomas.
And I REALLY didn’t think the Cavs could pull any trade off without having to give up Brooklyn’s lottery pick.
But lo and behold, the Cavs did pull it off. In fact, they pulled off THREE trades without having to unload Brooklyn’s pick.
The Cavs shipped Thomas and his bad attitude, along with Channing Frye, to the Los Angeles Lakers for Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance, Jr., and Cleveland’s protected 1st round pick. While this trade helps the Lakers to clear cap space (Thomas and Frye have expiring contracts) to go after superstars such as ironically LeBron James, unloading Thomas will help the Cavs’ chemistry issues immediately.
The Cavs acquired Rodney Hood and George Hill in a three-way deal with the Utah Jazz and Sacramento Kings. They sent Iman Shumpert and a 2020 second-round pick via the Miami Heat to the Kings in the deal. And FWIW, Sacramento acquires Joe Johnson from Utah, which gets Jae Crowder and Derrick Rose from Cleveland.
Finally, the Cavs traded Dwyane Wade back to the Miami Heat before Thursday’s 3 p.m. ET trade deadline (talk about going back home again). The Cavaliers got a heavily protected second-round pick in the deal.
So all those trades left Cleveland younger, with more defensive-minded and more team-oriented players who are better fits. All without having to part with Brooklyn’s lottery pick.
Now does this puts the Cavs ahead of the Golden State Warriors? Of course not. However, it will give them a far better shot of defending the Eastern Conference crown come playoff time.
This also puts Cleveland in a better position to remain competitive and have a bright future if (and when) LeBron decides to leave this offseason. This would hold true even if they decide to reboot the whole thing and trade Kevin Love.
So props to the Cavs for dropping weight via addition by subtraction. All without having to trade away Brooklyn’s lottery pick.