April 20, 2024

Follow the author: @Tay_Col

The Cleveland Cavaliers appear to be positioning themselves to trade for a backup point guard to shore up their depleted roster. LeBron has voiced his frustrations with management and fans have noticed the dip in performance from the team. Here are a few options that the Cavs management could pursue:

 Rajon Rondo – Chicago Bulls

Rajon Rondo was drafted 21st overall in 2006 by the Phoenix Suns. He is best known as the young guard that made the Boston Celtics 2007-08 championship team tick. Rondo was the assist and steal leader that season distributing the ball and playing hard defense. He stayed in Boston but moved on to Dallas when it was clear that Boston needed to rebuild. Attitude problems became the theme and he’s moved each season since 2015. Dallas to Sacramento and now in Chicago where he’s not fitting in. His numbers are decent. 36% shooting, almost seven assists to go along with 6.6 points in 28 minutes per game.

If the Cavaliers go after him, it would be for his passing ability. His vision would upgrade the backup spot because he should do a great job of finding our 3-point marksman. He’s also a great defensive player, having made either the NBA All-Defensive 1st or 2nd teams in four of his past 11 years in the NBA.

The primary issue is Rondo’s acceptance of a backup role. It’s rumored that his backup position for the Bulls is an issue for him. He wouldn’t start with the Cavs because LeBron dominates the ball handling. If anyone in the league can get him in line, it could be LeBron.

Deron Williams – Dallas Mavericks

Deron Williams was drafted by Utah in 2005 and was regularly in the conversation of top PGs in the league during his prime. At 32, he’s still got plenty of fight in him. Currently, Williams plays like an ironman for a poor Dallas team at 30 minutes a night and has not missed a single game (36/36). He’s shooting 43% from the floor, 35% from three, dishing seven assists per game and averaging 14 points too. Those numbers would drop off if the Cavs trade for him because he would not be playing 30 minutes a night.

The Cavs have done well with recruiting veterans and putting them into essential roles during the playoffs. Richard Jefferson and Channing Frye come to mind immediately. But, this isn’t free agency, when LeBron and company can lure a player to town by harping on championship dreams. Bringing Williams to Cleveland would require some maneuvering and I’m unsure if the Cavs can get him for what they’re willing to give up. If they can get him, he offers tremendous value in the backup spot, but it might also take some convincing for Deron to accept a backup role. He’s always been a starter.

Jammer Nelson – Denver Nuggets

This guy gave me fits back when the Cavs battled with the Orlando Magic for dominance of the Eastern conference. Drafted in 2004 by the Nuggets, he spent most of his career in Orlando and after a few moves around the league, he’s settled back in Denver. Averaging 8.5 points a game, 4.5 assists, on 44% shooting, Nelson still has a lot of potency to his game. Attitude should not be an issue for him. He’s already a backup in Denver, playing around 25 minutes a game behind Emmanuel Mudiay. He’s a smaller point guard at 6’ and isn’t known for his defense, but is serviceable. His perimeter defense is a strength, as he holds 3-point shooters to around 35%. And the importance of perimeter defense is enormously important in today’s NBA.

This option seems the most realistic. The assets required to trade for a backup guard on a middle-of-the-road Western conference team might be more palatable to the Cavs front office.

My Pick

In my dreams, I would pick a younger Rajon Rondo who could dish with the best of them. But in 2017, I don’t think he’s the solution to a team in a rough patch. My pick would be to make a savvy, level-headed move for Jameer Nelson. He’s played good basketball for a very long time and is ready to slot into the role the Cavs need him to play. He shoots well, can pick out a pass and is a good perimeter defender. David Griffin has had amazing success with mid-season trades for veteran players. This trade would make him look very smart, yet again. Nelson is the most affordable option in terms of salary requirements and will have an immediate impact with his experience running a pick-and-roll offense.

To bring in anyone, the Cavs must give up some assets for the future to stay competitive now. For Nelson, I would be willing to part with a future draft pick, Jordan McCrae or Turkish star Cedi Osman, who’s currently stored away in Europe. McCrae is a great scorer, but on a team loaded his role seems diminished. As for Osman, there are those that believe he has the makings of a solid NBA player. However, his preferred position is small forward, and between LeBron, RJ, and others he’s not breaking into the team anytime soon.

Follow the author: @Tay_Col


Images: ESPN

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