Cavs Shakeup Roster with Three Deadline Day Trades
The Isaiah Thomas experiment in Cleveland was short lived. 15 games to be exact. After suffering through a disastrous January, Cleveland made three deadline day deals, sending out six players, and bringing in four. The Cavs traded Thomas, Derrick Rose, Channing Frye, Dwayne Wade, Jae Crowder, and Iman Shumpert in exchange for George Hill, Rodney Hood, Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance, and a second-round draft pick in an effort to get younger and more athletic. A new breath of fresh air was also needed in the locker room in Cleveland. With these trades the Cavs essentially acknowledged that their offseason free agent additions and the Kyrie Irving trade were failures and it was time to reboot, and reboot they did.
One thing Cleveland certainly did was get younger. Hood, Clarkson, and Nance are all just 25 years old. Nance is a tremendous athlete and will bring a lot of excitement to the Cavs as a fan favorite high flyer. His energy and effort on both sides of the court is much needed. Hood gives the Cavs another big body on the wing and is in the midst of career year, averaging just under 17 points per game, while shooting 39% from three. Jordan Clarkson also gives Cleveland more size in the backcourt and figures to be their primary ballhandler and scorer off the bench. George Hill is the veteran of the newcomers and will slide into the starting point guard role with the departure of Isaiah Thomas. At 45%, Hill’s three-point percentage is best in the NBA this season. As a former San Antonio Spur, Hill brings playoff experience that the other new members of the Cavs are lacking. With these moves, NBA lines and spreads now have Cleveland as co-favorites in the East with the Boston Celtics.
While the overall atmosphere around Cleveland seems to be improving, some questions remain. The Cavs failed to secure a rim protector before the deadline, a la Deandre Jordan, and are still a bit undersized. Kevin Love remains sidelined for a while which doesn’t help matters. Also, two of the members from the 2016 championship team, JR Smith and Tristan Thompson are still around and will need to regain their old form. It will also take some time for the Cavaliers to adjust to their new pieces and with the all-star break approaching, the on-court chemistry will have to wait. While the trade deadline has now passed, don’t expect Cleveland to be done molding their roster. Buy-out season is now upon us and the Cavs could look to bring in another big man that becomes available.
Overall, Cleveland made the necessary moves they needed. While they did not bring in a Kemba Walker or Deandre Jordan, they were able to bring in four key role players who should have a little easier time fitting in than another star. They also got younger and more athletic while still adding more outside shooting as well. Change was much needed in Cleveland and now we wait and see how the new look Cavs will fair on their quest for a fourth straight finals appearance and another NBA title.