Key Pieces Missing from NBA Playoff Contenders in the East: Cavaliers
The key concept behind this article series is to take teams in the NBA Eastern/Western conference that I believe have a good chance at competing in their conference and give my opinion of players I feel will fit perfectly into the teams structure. The players I recommend will fit into three trade categories; 1) teams won’t have to give up much: This means in a trade scenario the most a team would have to give up is a low caliber player or a 2nd round pick. 2)Teams will have to give up a decent amount of assets: This means that teams would have to give up either a first round pick or a few rotation players, sometimes maybe even both. 3) Teams will have to give up a lot: This means that teams will have to give up multiple first round picks AND a handful of rotation players and maybe even a high caliber player to sweeten the deal. It is important to note that the players that teams wont have to give up much to obtain may not be better than the starters they have now. These players can pan out to have better careers in the future if used to their full potential.
LETS GET STARTED …..
The Cleveland Cavaliers have been to the NBA finals for the last couple of years. With the departure of Kyrie Irving and the acquisition of Isaiah Thomas I raise the question. Do the Cavaliers need an All Star/Ball dominant guard to win another championship? My answer may surprise you but I believe they do NOT. While watching the Cavaliers play this season I noticed that they flow better without a true point guard. Also I believe Kevin Loves improved play correlates with the absence of a ball dominant point guard. I believe that the Cavaliers would benefit TREMENDOUSLY by simply trading for a 3 and D (3pt shooter and defensive minded) guard to play the point. Think back to the Miami Heat, although they had a ball dominant guard in D. Wade (which in my opinion was the reason Chris Bosh’s performance dropped) they also had a 3 and D point guard in Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole. Which brings me to my first pick;
Mario Chalmers of the Memphis Grizzlies:
Chalmers recently was having a great season coming off the bench with the Memphis Grizzlies until he ruptured his achilles. Upon his return and with limited minutes off the bench Chalmers is averaging 7pts, 3 assist, and almost 3 rebounds a game. Chalmers has a quick release and is known to be a sharpshooter when hot. He makes a great option when Lebron or Love receives a double team. This will leave Chalmers all alone on the wing for an open three ….. SWISH! Unlike Clevland’s starting point guard Thomas; Chalmers does not need to have the ball in his hands to be a lethal weapon. This will allow Love to continue to keep getting his touches on the inside and draw the defense in to give Chalmers an open shot. Also because Chalmers does not have the “star” label above his head he is allowed to be a silent assassin hitting open shots when needed. Since his salary is only about 2 million dollars this can be an easy acquisition for the Cavaliers to obtain.
NEXT UP ….
Patrick Beverly of the Los Angeles Clippers:
Beverly is one of the most elite defensive guards in the NBA. This is usually associated with the several years he spend grinding overseas (specifically Russia) before getting an NBA contract. Lets face it, Beverly provides something that Thomas does not and that is lockdown defense. Not to mention that he can switch to being a respectable offensive threat when necessary. Before being injured this season Beverly was averaging 12pts, almost 3 assist, and 4 rebounds a game. Beverly’s contract is about 10 million dollars for the next two seasons (5 million dollars per season). With the Clippers lacking in the point guard department the asking price for Beverly may be a little high, especially because Cleveland is desperate to bring home another title. The closest contract Cleveland has to trade without digging more into the salary cap would be Isaiah Thomas who is owed about 6 million dollars this season. But if they would be able to obtain Beverly, they would definitely do better in the finals. Especially since Beverly would be able to guard against elite scorers like Curry and that is something we can all agree Thomas would not be able to do effectively.
Danny Green of the San Antonio Spurs:
Green has been the premier 3 and D guy for the Sant Antonio Spurs since they swiped him out off the D league. The irony of this proposal is the fact that Green was actually drafted by the Cavaliers in 2009. Since the beginning of this season Green has averaged 8pts, almost 2 assist, and 3 rebounds per game. Greens size can help the Cavaliers bottle up elite guards while his scoring ability can provide the space Lebron and Love need to operate on the inside. Lebron knows first hand about Danny Green’s ability to catch fire and hit shots from beyond the arc. So what makes this deal hard to complete? The answer is money and loyalty! This season Green is scheduled to make 10 million dollars and the only player Cleveland can trade without taking in to much money would be Iman Shumpert and his 11 million dollar contract. This is where the loyalty aspect comes into play. The Spurs are not going to trade Shumpert and Green straight up. They would be losing a valuable asset to their organization while gaining ….. well a scrub in Shumpert. On top of that Cleveland would have to come knocking on San Antonio’s door with an offer. In this case Cleveland may have to throw in some picks to sweeten the deal or add some players to appease the Spurs. But overall this trade would benefit the Cavaliers greatly if they can utilize Green to his full potential. Which is a problem I believe Lebron has since he joined the Heat, but thats a different story for different article.
Let me know if you agree with my picks? If not who do you think would be a better player for them to acquire?