With no big moves besides the Blake Griffin trade prior to today, the Cleveland Cavaliers were the team to watch on this trade deadline Thursday. This morning they made a trade that shipped former star Isaiah Thomas, role player Channing Frye, and their 2018 first round pick to LA for sixth man Jordan Clarkson and the high flying dunk contest participant Larry Nance Jr.
This first trade seemed like a bit of a head scratcher at first. It left me, and I’m sure many others like myself, convinced another trade by Cleveland was to follow. The Cavs traded the bulk of what they got from the Kyrie deal for 2 role players from a struggling Lakers team that is well below .500. At first it sounds pretty damn awful, though if you look at it from a perspective where you ignore the sunk cost of the Kyrie trade and examine Cleveland’s roster as is, this is not a bad trade at all. They managed to trade a struggling guard in IT, who is also a liability on the defensive end, still is not yet physically back to 100%, and has an expiring contract, along with an older bench guy who is probably getting paid more than he’s worth. Now, the original Kyrie trade was absolutely atrocious in retrospect. But at least the Cavs are getting back 2 young players who are solid on both sides of the ball, exciting to watch, and very liable to stick around in Cleveland for years to come.
The next trade the Cavs made was an absolute home run. They sent Derrick Rose, Iman Shumpert, and Jae Crowder (all players who have been a huge disappointment this season and may as well be dead money moving forward) to Utah and Sacramento. In return they received upcoming 2 way guard Rodney Hood and veteran guard George Hill. Utah received the rights to Derrick Rose (who is being waived) and Jae Crowder, and Sacramento received Shumpert and Joe Johnson. The Cavs also traded Dwayne Wade back to Miami for a future second rounder.
This was an absolute fire sale by Koby Altman and Cleveland and I love it. They gained much needed defense, added youth, dumped off aged and defenseless veterans that either already were, or would become wasted cap space, AND kept the nets 2018 first round pick. Whether this was an effort to win this year, prepare for the future without LeBron, or try and convince him to stay and that the franchise is willing to do whatever it takes to keep him happy, they did an outstanding job.
The other trade action around the league not involving the Cavs was pretty boring and somewhat disappointing. Though Cleveland made enough moves to make this a stellar trade deadline, no other big trades were completed. Most deals that were done are not even worth mentioning. A few reserves moved around in an effort for teams to clear up cap room, but that is about it. A couple moves worth noting though are:
G Elfrid Payton from Orlando to Phoenix for a second round pick
3 team deal sending F Doug McDermott to the Mavs, G Devin Harris to the Nuggets, and G Emmanuel Mudiay to the Knicks
C Willy Hernangomez from New York to Charlotte for F/C Johnny O’Bryant, and 2 future second round picks
G/F James Ennis to the Pistons. Memphis receives F/C Brice Johsnon and a second round pick
F Noah Vonleh to the Bulls and the rights of Milocan Rakovic to the Blazers
G/F Malachi Richardson from Sacramento to Toronto for F Bruno Cabocio