In case you haven’t heard, the Cleveland Cavaliers have been pursuing either Jimmy Butler or Paul George in a trade. Despite not currently having a general manager, the Cavs have been busy trying to make a blockbuster deal materialize.
According to Marc Stein, the pursuit of a deal has slowed down as the team has ran into obstacles. From the report:
Sources told ESPN on Tuesday that the Cavaliers have been notified that Butler hopes to stay with the Bulls and would be reluctant to commit his long-term future to Cleveland. Butler, sources said, remains intent on trying to lead the Bulls back to Eastern Conference prominence.
When it comes to George, meanwhile, ESPN reported earlier Tuesday that the Indiana Pacers have commenced trade talks with the Los Angeles Lakers, who overwhelmingly rank as George's preferred destination as his own free agency looms in the summer of 2018.
This is not a positive development for a potential deal for either player. Although it’s important to remember that a lot of what is leaked to the public is used for leverage in trade negotiations.
Any deal for either player would likely be complicated, involving both a third team and Kevin Love. As Stein pointed out in his report, this would be a risky move for the Cavs as neither player is ready to commit long-term to the Cavaliers.
Koby Altman, would continue to aggressively pursue upgrades to the roster as Cleveland enters the final season James is under contract.
But sacrificing Love to acquire Butler or George -- even for a historically bold team like the Cavaliers -- would be risky if neither player is prepared to make a long-term commitment to the franchise.
Inactivity can’t be an option for the Cavs, with free agency looming for LeBron James and a clear gap between them and the Golden State Warriors. If the blockbuster trade option doesn’t pan out, they will need to pursue other options to help them better match-up against the Warriors in another Finals rematch.