There has been a shortage of rumors for the Cleveland Cavaliers lately. While they have been linked to players, we haven’t heard of any offers that actually materialized outside of their attempts to land George Hill. But with the deadline approaching, the reports of the Cavs activity, or lack thereof, are sure to heat up.
As reported by Sam Amick of USA Today, the Cavs have tried to use their own first round pick in order to in order to shed the long-term salaries of Tristan Thompson and J.R. Smith. Including in an offer for DeAndre Jordan:
Cavs general manager Koby Altman is trying hard to shed the contracts of Tristan Thompson (two years, $36 million remaining) and J.R. Smith ($14.7 million next season, team option worth $15.6 million in 2019-20 with $3.8 million guaranteed), two players who were re-signed in large part because of LeBron’s omnipresent influence. They’re all represented by Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, who built the agency with a huge assist from James. As it pertains to the Cavs’ interest in the Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan, a person with knowledge of that situation said Cleveland continues to offer only its own first-round pick and this kind of unwanted money in those stalled negotiations.
Jordan would certainly provide an offensive upgrade over Thompson, as well as better rim protection. There are some questions about how he would fit against the Warriors in comparison to Thompson, as he is less mobile and has struggled to stay on the floor against them. While that was also true of Thompson in last year’s Finals, his reduced mobility due to knee pain was also a factor.
The other side of this is that Jordan, as a physical presence, probably provides more confidence to his teammates. It could assist in the Cavs actually making the Finals for the fourth year and it would help the team get off Smith’s contract.
It’s clear that the Clippers do not currently want to make this deal, but it’s possible that some variation of it goes through by the deadline. Should it go down, it would leave the Cavs with three free agents all seeking max money, with Jordan, LeBron Jams and Isaiah Thomas. If LeBron is leaving, this kind of move would clear the way for a rebuild.